In addition to the "side" pursuits of conferencing and publishing, I'm working on my dissertation. One of the things I have to do to conduct my dissertation research is to get approval to work with human subjects. Interestingly, I fill out some of the same paperwork as someone who is doing drug testing or working with vulnerable populations. I checked "NO" to things like "Does your study require genetic testing?" or "Do you plan on using hazardous materials?" The research proposal is then gone over with a fine-toothed comb by those who make sure that academic research is safe and appropriate.
I am awaiting approval because I can then recruit participants for my study. I'm terrified that no one will agree to do join the study and I'll be stuck at square one. So strange to have to rely on others to make this work out and yet I'm glad because I find the human stories of [my field] so compelling. There are so many hurdles and steps but I'll feel much better when I've got participants locked in.