A Lesson: Give Others the Same Break You Give Yourself

It’s Tuesday again! Already!  Time for a Slice of Life Post sponsored by the Two Writing Teachers Blog.   Last Thursday, I found out the my proposed study, Garden Education and The Subsequent Development of Environmental Stewardship: Indicative Memorieswas approved by the IRB, or Institutional Review Board, at the university I attend for graduate school. My mentor was pleased that I was able to get through the committee’s review process with just two small revisions!  She said it was rare!

But, after I sent the revisions I heard nothing! The faculty member working with me on the study said she had sent the copies of the revisions to the appropriate person. I had sent the digital copies. Or, so I thought. But then, again, I had sent them just before leaving on a trip to see my parents.  So, when I got home and there was still no word and the commencement date of my study passed – without commencing, I began to worry. After searching my emails, I could not come up with proof that I had sent the documents digitally!  So, after searching and searching, more and more frantically, I became disgusted and disappointed with with myself!  I must have worked on the email, and been pulled away from the computer, not having sent it and the digital copies of the revisions. All I could find was a half written email – no proof it was ever finished or sent.

So, I put my proverbial tail between my legs and wrote an email of apology to the IRB committee chair, stating what I had found and reattaching the revised digital files. In the email, I admitted that maybe I had been too busy, too distracted by my trip, and too rushed to get the job done right. In other words, I had not been wise or careful with something that was important to me. I apologized – profusely.

But then, several hours later, a strange thing happened; the IRB committee chair wrote back and stated that she did, in fact, have my email from the previous week (November 15th) with the attached revisions. It was the hard copies the committee was waiting on! I was both relieved and frustrated! First, I was relieved that I had followed through and did what was required to get my study off the ground. Secondly, I was frustrated that the hard copies, presumably delivered by my professor/advisor, were not in the hands of the appropriate people. The IRB committee chair put it in perspective for me. She said she had followed up on the missing hard copies and if they had not been received by Wednesday the 22nd, they would track them down or we could resend. She also put my mind at ease and told me that the hold up was not due to any negligence on my part. After a brief period of irritation, I realized that my mentor deserved the same benefit of the doubt that I had given myself. She had told me she would deliver the files. I am sure she did, or at least intended to, deliver them.  Perhaps – they were sitting in a pile on the committee person’s desk, perhaps – they were still on my mentor’s desk with all those good intentions left afoul, perhaps – they got stuck in inner-campus mail. This was the case! The hard copies of my files had taken from the 16th to the 20th to be delivered from one building on campus to another and land on the appropriate person’s desk. After being CC’d on the email of apology by me and the “we will track it down” email from the IRB committee chair, the last person in the loop was able to go ahead and give me the permission to start my study! Believe me, my Thanksgiving gratitude included being able to proceed with this research.

So, this past Saturday I sent out about 120 postcards to former garden club students who are now young adults – aged 18-23 years. I am looking forward to learning what memories of garden club they can share with me and if they felt the club influenced their ability or desire to be our next generation of environmental stewards.  Yes, life is busy. But, life is good.

Slice of Life Tuesday 

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