I actually realised that the university will pay me for the next 4 months, then I need to find a job to make a living. Not sure if the excitement is higher the fear that, after 25 years, schooling is coming to an end. I didn’t want to write this blog article today. I didn’t want to share any more negative feeling/experience. But, I had to remind myself that every feeling is important, positive and negative feelings should be welcomed with the same attitude. There is a tendency of hiding negative emotions and sharing only positive ones. But life is ups and down and showing off only joy makes life fictional not real!
April started very badly. I was hit by a car while I was driving my bike. Luckily, I didn’t get any serious physical injury other than a few bruises. But it was emotionally stressful. All the adrenaline of the event put me in a very anxious emotional state. All this stress on top of the one accumulated in March brought my social anxiety to a very high level. I didn’t go out socially for a month. I didn’t talk much to my friends and family, I found excuses to avoid night outs. I also didn’t rest properly after that as I wanted to finish writing up my thesis. That was a big mistake because it made my mood much worse and affected my sleeping badly.
Not sure how but my friend Susanna Harris noticed that I wasn’t feeling well and she messaged me to express her concern. Her message washed away all the stress and negativity. I promised her to take better care of myself and my mental health by relaxing more and taking a break from every project I was carrying on. I spent 5 good days over Easter by literally doing nothing rather than going out, meeting friends, going to the gym, eating properly and enjoying the sunshine. Sometimes, in the dark moments, we just need a friend to remind us that they care! Thanks, Susanna, your message meant a lot and definitely helped in navigating my social anxiety.
Sometimes, in the dark moments, we just need a friend to remind us that they care!
PhD-wise, I have been doing very well with my thesis writing up. Stopping to put together 2 years of experiments was a good exercise. I realised that I did and learned a lot during my PhD. The fact that most of my experiments didn’t produce any positive result does not mean that they are scientifically wrong. Any experiment in the lab is valid and negative results are equally important as positive ones. Plus, there is no shame in writing “We tried everything and we concluded that it was better to move on”. I went back to the lab with a total brand new mindset. In fact, I realised that one experiment I had been working on for 2 months would never work. Acknowledging that your experiments don’t work because this is just science not because of you is a big step forward for any scientist. I then changed the conditions of my experiment slightly and, voila’, I managed to make the compound I was struggling with for months.
Sometimes, in the dark moments of your research, what you need is just a break to refresh your mind.
As I have seen loads of friends doing this I will share here my fav activities of this month.
Must-a-read Book: Becoming by Michelle Obama, seriously the book became my stone of life.
Must-a-watch TV show: Homecoming by Beyonce, recommended for any woman who needs empowerment
Podcast: episode #48 and #49 of the show HerSTEMstory, available to download from Spotify, iTunes and Google play.
New #sciart account to follow: sticking_hew
See you next month!