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.
I just want to start off with apologising for the long hiatus from blogging. The last 2 months have been hectic. I finished off my labwork, I am almost done with my thesis, I presented my research at the European Symposium on Organic Chemistry and I am applying for jobs. I also had a two-week vacation to visit my family in Italy because I needed a break from everything so badly.
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.
I am off to a conference in Vienna from this Saturday and for the whole following week. It will be a big event with big-name professors from all over the world and about 400 posters on display. I initially applied to do an oral presentation, but I didn’t make it. So, I was given the chance to present a poster. Not too bad. Going to such huge events where you will meet all the people whose names you have been reading on papers for 4+ years can be daunting. And if you are an introvert, it might feel like a nightmare.
Continue reading “How to shine at business events as an introvert.”
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.
Continue reading “Reflections on the last month I spent in the lab. #100daysofdissertation”
I recently started getting loads of questions about applying for PhD scholarships to study in the UK and how I got my own scholarship. I think this is an interesting question and I decided to put this article together to share my experience.
Continue reading “How I got my PhD scholarship in the UK”
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?
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”