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.
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!
One of the best decision I made halfway through my PhD is starting my Instagram page. By using appropriate hashtags such as #phdlife #gradlife #phdstudentsofinstagram #scicomm, I connected with a lot of incredible people who became my friends in everyday life too. None makes it through a PhD on their own, and if there is a piece of advice I can give to an early-stage PhD student is to find your community and no matter how you reach out to people, in social or virtual life. just do it! After two years of blogging, I’ve come to learn that social media doesn’t have to be an escape route from your life or substitute it, it’s complementary and, as it in my case, you can use them wisely to become more than your PhD!
According to the World Health Organisation, disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. This is quite a hard sentence to digest with loads of jargon and technicalities. So, let me be a bit more clear! Impairments refer to the dysfunction of one or more parts of your body and also includes malformations. Activity limitations refer to the inability to carry out normal daily activities. Participation restrictions include all the conditions that prevent people from living life to the fullest. Often, we recognise disabilities as physical disabilities, for example, a person in a wheelchair or missing a limb, deafness or blindness. But, actually, you might be surprised to know that people affected by cancer, diabetes, HIV and even mental illness are included in this umbrella term. 
Isabel Torres got her PhD in biology at the University of Cambridge and a postdoc at the MRC Laboratories of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. She has four kids and had her first pregnancy while doing her PhD. After her postdoc, she decided to leave academia to make her own things. Her transition from academia to industry wasn’t easy but she made it a wonderful career anyway. She works as a self-employed science editor and freelance science writer. You can find Isabel on Instagram and Twitter. She just launched her blog prettysmartscience.com to support women and especially mamas in science, make science more accessible and address the problem of fake news.
One of the best skills of a scientist is definitely creativity.
The constant challenge of finding solutions to new and stimulating problems really drives you to get creative. Creativity shouldn’t stop to the lab bench in my opinion. All the skills we learn during grad school should be implemented in our personal and professional life too.
So, what about get creative and make actual money for it? Many grad students don’t have a permanent salary, have to teach or demonstrate to support themselves or ask a loan to the bank. I think there is a better way to make a little extra money while doing a PhD and this comes from monetising your hobbies.
Continue reading “Heidi Gardner – from PhD to independent business owner.”
Did you enrol in a PhD programme to become a senior scientist in a big name company? If the answer is yes, you found the good place to be. I interview Daniel last month to know more about his journey and his transition from academia to industry. Daniel is is Principal Scientist in process chemistry at MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme), it’s his job to figure out the best reactions for making molecules on large scales so enough can be made for clinical trials or even for manufacturing on the metric-ton scale if a candidate compound is approved as a drug. “Everything he did turned to gold. His chemical intuition was impeccable, and he had the unique ability to extract exactly the information he needed out of every reaction that he ran without getting distracted or wasting any time,” says prof. Rovis, his PhD supervisor.
Continue reading “Daniel DiRocco – from PhD to senior scientist at Merk (MSD).”