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?”
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!
Bookmark scicomm available to purchase from my Etsy shop for £8, check here.
Yesterday I came across a funny tweet. One of my virtual friends asked whether science communication improved mental health in graduate school and if any data was available. I didn’t have any data last night and I just answered that tweet by saying “science communication saved my PhD”. At some point during my PhD, end of my first year, which I failed BTW, my mental health was extremely poor. I was crying every day, couldn’t stay still, had nightmares, strong headaches and felt unsafe to be in the lab. I was questioning my skills as a scientist every moment and thinking of quidding my PhD 5 times a day every day.
Crocheted flask-shaped laptop sticker available to purchase from my Esty shop for £6, check here.
I didn’t lose my mind, no no! I did write 10000 words of my thesis in 10 days. It isn’t a typo either! How that happened? The writing up period is notoriously the hardest and most stressful bit of a PhD. And, for students like myself, who are doing their PhD in a second language that should be much more intense! I was honestly quite scared to even open a Word document and put together a few words considering all the bad publicity.
I am back to business (blogging) and decided to put together this article to share my experience of being an international student and tell the story of how I became more than my PhD. As I am reaching the end, less than 6 months away from my thesis submission, I have been reflecting on the 4 years spent in Nottingham. I honestly could not be any happier of the unique opportunity I was given to. This PhD made me grow professionally and as a person in a way that I could have never envisioned. I have learned a lot about science, science communication and about myself.
There are loads of things I wish I was told before starting this PhD. The list is so long that I am not even sure where to start with. Apart from the obvious things, like making sure to find a supporting and understanding advisor (really learned this the hard way), familiarising with the wellbeing facilities like the health centre, gym etc, or finding your community of people, either by joining societies, book clubs, becoming member of sport and more professional clubs (will talk about this later on this month).
Connie from Life Of Learning asked me to talked about my Etsy shop and featured me in her section Career highlights. A simple feature of her Instagram page became a 1000 word email which I then decided to turn in a blog article for my own website!