Laura C. - Murphy's Law
The first law of field scientists is Murphy’s Law – whatever can go wrong, will. Ironically, fieldwork tends to make us a superstitious lot. Because no matter how much planning goes into a field season, we still end up somewhere different than where we started. It’s a real-life experiment with ever evolving conditions, presenting new challenges at each step. And yet, meeting those challenges is what makes field scientists some of the most flexible people I know!
Field site director detained at the border for 2 weeks? Congratulations, you are now the designated interim director! No desks to set up your field lab? No problem, we’ve got windowsills. Lighting in your lab space failing? Good thing we didn’t have any desks and set up on those windowsills! Equipment malfunctioning? I’m sure we can create another tool from whatever we’ve got in that shed. Crew needs a boost in morale? No worries, we can always do shadow puppets with flashlights on the wall of that archaeological monument over there. None of your excavation team speaks more than a few words of the same language? Absolutely not true, because archaeology is a universal language!
We all have plenty of set-backs, but that is what gives us the not-so-gentle shove forward toward learning. And who knows, you might stumble over your plans to discover what you never thought you could find (with plenty besides along the way)!