So I've taken a lengthy hiatus from maintaining my blog....I blame med school apps. I have about twenty essays of varying lengths to complete in the next few weeks, and it's time consuming.
A really brief update:
After my last post, I headed back to Hyderabad, and plunged right into my job. In a nutshell, I'm running a randomize control design evaluation of a health insurance product for poor, rural Indians. My field site, where the project is being conducted, is located about 5 hours from Hyderabad, and I typically visit once a week.
It's been a crazy four weeks adjusting to a job unlike any other I've had. It hasn't been entirely joyous, and at times, I've asked myself "What the hell have I gotten myself into?" But then there are always these amazing moments, like when a chicken wanders into a interview with a client in a village, and I feel very thankful for not having to sit in a sterile office environment day after day.
The last week has been particularly good. Our institute has flown in a bunch of grad students from the econ programs at Harvard and MIT for a two day institutional meet (in Pondicherry), in which we exchange ideas and training. Following that, we had a five day course (in Chennai) in evaluating social programs using a randomized control design methodology; it's basically been like college all over again, with all the other research associates and I (most of us in our early twenties), living in a hostel together and attending class during the day. The class was incredibly stimulating, taught by professors from Harvard/MIT Econ, and a prof from Harvard B-school (who was hilarious, as he constantly made fun of Harvard B-school students). More than anything though, the week was a chance to meet the professors who are running our institute, and to try to understand the paradigm with which they approach this work. It was also good to learn that they are as dedicated as the people working for them, and basically run J-PAL without receiving any payment for their time spent working on projects.
The week in Chennai is over though, and now it's time to head back to Hyderabad. Hopefully, my secondaries will be done soon, and I can start re-posting.