Currently, In Depth is going smoothly. I have been continuously attending classes on forensic entomology at SFU, while Caitlin has been going to classes concerning forensic science. This week, we’ve begun learning about the life cycle of a blow fly and will continue to learn about how the blow fly relates to forensic science.
One thing I’ve found interesting in class, is that while estimating time of death, you don’t give a maximum (at least my mentor doesn’t). I was confused at first, but as my mentor continued her lesson, it made a lot of sense. Insects tell you a lot about the body and the stage of life they are at can often tell you how long they’ve been on that body. However, there is a time span where the insects have NOT yet reached the body and there is no way to know how much time has passed. Additionally, I learned that there are many variables that can significantly impact the estimation. Rain, temperature, and whether the victim has been physically exerting themselves before their death, all play a role in estimating the time of death and can heavily change the result if they are not factored into observations.
Working towards having a beautiful mind has once again proved difficult for me. As I’ve mentioned before, the aspects of having a beautiful mind focus on scenarios where you’re a part of a conversation. In the book it states that without the aspects of having a beautiful mind, the “other person might as well be giving a lecture” (3-4). Unfortunately, my mentor is quite literally giving a lecture. However, I did feel aspects of the 4 tips below while attending lectures and if not, I’ve definitely felt these in day to day conversations.
#2 to ask for clarification whenever you are unclear or in doubt about something the mentor tells you or shows you.
During the lectures, people in the class often raise their hands and ask clarifying questions or questions that lead to other topics. While listening to my mentor answer these questions, the concept becomes much clearer to me, even if I’ve thought that I understand it. After class, I’ve asked clarifying questions as well. From these experiences, it is evident that questions are important to making sure one’s learning and understanding is solid and comprehensive, not only during conversations, but during classes and lectures as well!
#3 to support a point your mentor makes with additional facts, figures, evidence etc.
When presenting lectures, my mentor always backs up their points with evidence, whether it be with specific cases or data. This evidence makes the point easier to understand. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to support my mentor’s points with evidence of my own, as I don’t have much previous learning about the specific subject. However, in conversations with other people, when I find an example that matches with their point, it becomes much clearer and easier to understand, as I’m presenting something that I already have previous knowledge of.
#5 to share a personal story that illustrates the conversation topic.
It’s definitely a struggle to find a personal story that aligns with the topic of forensic entomology. I did hear a lot of personal stories from my mentor, but I myself have not worked on blow flies in a lab or examined a dead body! However, in my personal life, if a conversation topic is something I have previously experienced, I can relate with the topic on a personal level, making me much more engaged in the conversation. For example, running in the rain. If I recall a personal experience of running in the rain, I have firsthand experience I can speak about and add to the conversation.
#10 to modify an idea to make it more acceptable to yourself and to make it stronger or more practical.
Once again, it’s hard to modify an idea if I don’t know much about the topic! If my mentor is speaking about a research method that they prefer, I don’t have the sufficient background knowledge to step in and say I would modify a certain aspect of the research process to make it fit for me. However, I have used this tip many times! Whether it be in research, where I take a method and alter it to fit my situation or during a conversation where someone presents an idea and I add onto it, changing and modifying ideas is something I do often. For example, during adventure trip planning or leadership event planning, we always present ideas to each other. During the planning process, we take those ideas and build upon them, adding suggestions and omitting certain aspects to make the idea grander than before.
Hopefully, when Caitlin and I begin to prep our final presentation, I will be able to utilize these tips in conversations with my mentor! For now, I must first gain the base knowledge needed to create this final presentation.