I keep constantly on top of my long to-do lists!

The end of February is coming soon and it’s that time of the month when I check how I keep up with my personal and professional growth. If you missed the January edition click here. February has been a month dense of good news and changes. The biggest news was that I got a job offer and I will start a new position as a research chemist in pharma in less than 10 days.  When I was told that my interview was successful and the company wanted me to start the new job asap, I couldn’t believe it. After months and months of travelling up and down the country, rejections, motivation letters, CV editing, financial pressure, being stuck with my life without being able to make plans for the future, I couldn’t believe that I was finally able just to sit back and relax (not for long though!).

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How to deal with the brutality of the job market

I waited for so long before writing this post because I have been in the job market for almost 6 months and all I got so far is a big pile of rejections. And at times, I feel like an impostor to give advice when I have been struggling myself to secure a job offer. So, I just want to say that I don’t have the answer to all your questions but I definitely learned a lot of things during the process. I will try to share them in a series of articles because it’s too much material for a single article.

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My thesis was accepted with major revisions!

Happy New Year folks. I am back from a long-overdue break from PhD life. The biggest news is that, on Dec 6th, I had my PhD defence and my thesis was accepted. The less positive news is that I have a ton of revisions to do. And this is why I was given 12 months to do that. I know that this sounds a bit confusing because the defence process varies according to the county and even differs depending to a specific institution. So, in the UK, you have to submit your thesis within 4 years since the start of your scholarship. After submission, you get an oral exam, no presentation, with 2 professors, one from your institution, an internal assessor, and another from a different university, an external examiner.

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How to prepare for your PhD oral defence

All right folks, long overdue post on how I am getting along with preparing my thesis defence. I know that this process isn’t the same for everyone and different universities adopt different criteria and requirement to earn a PhD degree. In my university and pretty much in many UK institutions, you have an oral exam with a professor from your university and another one from elsewhere. They question you about your work and assess your general knowledge on your field of research and your subject of study overall.

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How to deal or move away from toxic supervisors

I think I lost count of all the messages I got from fellow students asking for help because they don’t know how to deal or move away from toxic supervisors. I initially wanted to share my own experience only. But I think this wouldn’t have been powerful enough to provide resources, support and motivation. So I decided to ask people to share their own experience publicly or anonymously so that everyone can identify themselves in one of the following cases and act accordingly. I also want to say that I feel incredibly sorry if you are reading this article and you currently going through such a poor mentoring situation yourself. I really hope this can be helpful!

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The cost of university textbooks is a barrier to knowledge

Not gonna lie! I am no rich kid. I didn’t have the money to buy all the university textbooks full-price because their cost was prohibitive. And there is no shame in saying that most of my books came from doggy websites or I copied the chapters that I needed for the original version. I wish I could be back in Italy to show all my notes and the pile of sheets accumulated over the years. Feel free to report me for infringing the copyright. I don’t care. None can take my knowledge away from me anymore.

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I finished my PhD – actually not yet!

On Tuesday the 27th of August, I submitted my PhD thesis. I thought that this day would never arrive. I had so many dark moments, ups downs, had to change lab, supervisor, research topic, how could one see the light at the end of the tunnel? But I did it. And, although I still feel overwhelmed by the whole process, it’s a good way of being tired. It comes from a sense of accomplishment. Everything I worked for over the last 4 years finally came together.

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The busiest month of my PhD – #itshappening

July has been a crazy month, like every month since the beginning of this year. I have come to realise that the way I approach my life, especially my work life is a bit unhealthy because I have of my problem with anxiety. Since a very young age, my anxiety, my feeling of inadequacy and poor self-esteem made me work like crazy. It is very sad to say and I am not happy about the fact that the reason for my constant achievements is due to my anxiety. This is not what I want from my life anymore and I am trying to adopt more healthy and sustainable routines to achieve as much without constantly burning out, lacking sleep and relying on painkillers. And I don’t want to even get started about how bad this PhD affected my mental health.

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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.
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