I had a hard time for the first two years of my PhD dealing with negative feedback. Before my first year exam or confirmation, I had to submit two reports: a pilot project report to test if my initial idea was scientifically valid and the first year report. Needless to say that they were both rubbish. When I got told that my data and the way I led my experiment was poor, I freaked out. Who is willing to be told that their work isn’t good enough?
One of the reasons why I did all the extra-curriculum activities outside my PhD, is because I do not wish to stay in academia once I finish my PhD. As I started applying for jobs, I pleasingly noticed that my CV is suitable for jobs I never thought I could apply for with a PhD in Chemistry.
As many of you know, I will finish my PhD without any publication…in the traditional sense! Call it bad luck, bad timing, what else? I didn’t manage to produce any positive result during my PhD, the only kind of results are accepted by scientific journals. First of all, let’s unravel some myths. Negative results or results that don’t produce a positive outcome aren’t failures! They are the vast majority of science and equally if not more important to positive ones. It is a great shame that they don’t make it to a scientific publication because their value to one’s research and potentially to the whole scientific community is immense!
As scientists, we are constantly challenged to find solutions to new or old problems. This really stimulates creativity which is, by far, one of the best skills of a scientist. Creativity shouldn’t stop to the lab bench, in my opinion. All the skills we learn in grad school could be easily implemented in our personal and professional life too. So, what about getting creative and making actual money out of it? Many grad students don’t have a permanent salary, have to teach or demonstrate in undergrad labs to support themselves, work part-time jobs, and in the worst case, they might end up paying an eternal mortgage to get an education.
The portrait has been created by Nina Chhita and similar items can be purchased from her Etsy shop check here.
May has been a very busy month. Loads of exciting things have happened including new job opportunity, change to meet new friends and old friends and loads of progress with my science.
Continue reading “4 more months to go – PhD Life”
Cardholder available to purchase on my Etsy shop for £10. Check here
This morning I wanted to put together a list of things that I would like to do once I have finished my PhD. I started writing down travelling, going to a concert and this sort of stuff. Reading through, I just realised that none of this stuff is amazing things to do. They are just normal stuff. I actually don’t have to wait until the end of my PhD to do crazy things because I have been already living my best life.
Continue reading “Is a PhD only learning about your niche of research?”
It’s been a while since I wrote something for my website and the main reason is that I have many unhealthy relationships. One of these is with work. I am unable to stop and I need the feeling to be constantly busy to feel that I achieve something. I recently started seeing a counsellor to treat my eating disorders and while digging into the reasons why I tend to overeat at times, I realised that eating or cooking is a way to fill the time. I overload myself with work for the same reason, it’s a way to fill the time. So, I decided to take a step back and set my priorities. Last week my priority #1 was my Etsy shop. It was small business week so I decided to run a promotion and put some of my items on sale. I didn’t expect to sell so much so my main focus was going to the post office and creating personalised items during my spare time.
The other day I came across an article published by Christine Liu about impostor syndrome and the fact that many grad students are so intimidated by academia that they spend a good part of their time thinking they don’t belong to the system. I have been through my PhD experience feeling like this every single day because I don’t fit the picture of a “traditional” scientist. And this has really little to do with the fact that I am a woman in STEM. I question every day how people see me from the outside. Is it the science communication and my voice on social media too much? Will this affect my future job applications? Do I come across as an assertive and strong person or people think of me as an aggressive beast? And I don’t want to even start to talk about how my femininity comes across!
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!
Flask-shaped laptop sticker is available to purchase from my Etsy shop for £6, click here.
You are about to finish your degree, master or PhD, and you are panicking because you have to apply for jobs but none tells you how to do it? After my last post on how to structure your CV (if you haven’t read it yet, please, check here), I was involved in loads of conversation about transferrable skills and what universities do or, most likely, don’t do to help the transition from academia to industry. I honestly don’t believe this is fair at all as, in many countries, students end up with an eternal mortgage to get an education.