Reflections on the last month I spent in the lab. #100daysofdissertation

June is coming to an end and this is the time of the month when I usually stop for a bit and reflect on my monthly progress. In January, I started rewriting for my website seriously and one of the aims of this virtual diary was to evaluate my personal and career development. I have been doing this for 6 months now and I have to say that I am very happy with the progress.

June has been such an intense month, full of events some expected and others quite unexpected, story of my life. First of all on June the 8th, I turned 29 and I wanted it to be a special birthday because I will never be in my 20s ever again in my life. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I was involved in a very stressful situation, which put me in a financially difficult position and I was busy trying to sort it out. Lucky, my lovely family gave me massive support and my parents told me that I don’t have to worry about anything for the next 3 months as long as I finish this damn PhD.

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I honestly don’t like the feeling of struggling with money. If you have been reading this website for a while, you might already know that I didn’t come from a rich family and I had to work hard my whole life to live now the life I have always wanted. Downgrading isn’t an option, so, unwillingly, I started applying for jobs. I came across a lot of exciting opportunities in science communication, science policy and consultancy and I am pleased to see how all the skills I gained during my PhD, within and beyond my research, are so valuable for the working industry.

So glad to see how all the crap I have done during my PhD are valuable for the working industry.

62644077_453486428797649_8268565845920186368_nPhDwise, this month has been incredibly productive in the lab. I am honestly impressed with my progress as a scientist, my abilities to evaluate science critically and how I got to get better at designing experiments. After months and month of working out what the heck was going wrong with my chemistry, I found the solutions to my scientific problems. This was an incredible feeling because I can finish my PhD with something positive and give a positive outlook as the ending point of my thesis. That also meant that I could finally retire from the lab and go full-time into my thesis writing. Plus, I managed to book my holiday in Italy to visit my family for the summer because I managed to retire from the lab before I initially planned.

After months and months of banging my head against the fume hood, I got some positive news from the lab.

 

As you might have understood this has been an incredibly busy month and the upcoming ones won’t be any better considering that I’m still looking for jobs and my thesis isn’t completed. I know from experience that, when I’m such under high pressure, burnouts are round the corner. So I decided to drop most of my commitments and put them on hold and stick to 3 self-care activities that will be non-negotiable. All the rest can wait!

Making quality time for my family and friends

Going to the gym 3 times a week

Drastically reducing my sugary food intake

Finally, before I shut up, the highlight of this month was my invitation as the keynote speaker for the Engeeniring Postgrad Symposium at the University of Sheffield. My friend Eleni, who found me through my Instagram account, invited me to give a talk on the importance of doing science communication during my PhD. I had the chance to talk about my Instagram account, all the skills and opportunities that I gained since I put myself out there on online platforms. This is a snap of my talk. See you next month!

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