Last posting – a forward-thinking retrospective

Dear readers,

It is both happily and sadly that I inform you that this will be my last posting for the makingbones blog. This is because I have now completed my DPhil (happy) but will now be moving on to other stages of my life (sad, but happy). When I first set out to do my DPhil I had no idea that it would be the emotional and intellectual roller coaster that it has been. Here are some of the ideas I had going into the process, compared to my actual experiences.

1) I thought I would be done in 3.5 years. It took 5. Research from 3.5 years of the total featured only in the appendices of the thesis.

2) I thought my experiments would look a bit like this:

flowchart1

Instead, they looked like this (actual flow chart from a poster I presented at a conference):

flowchart2

3) Up until grad school, my academic achievements were a source of happiness and confidence. Scientific research as a career (starting in grad school) often has a different effect. I’ve learnt to not attach my confidence to the results of experiments – after all, if we knew the answers it wouldn’t be called “research”.

flowchart3

4) Throughout your time in grad school you may work with one or many supervisors. Know yourself and what kind of help you need from these people – if they do not give you the support you need, look elsewhere, and sooner rather than later. But be kind to them.

Thanks to all of you who have read my blog over the past year! Best of luck with your decisions on grad school! And if you do decide to undertake this adventure, go in with an open mind, stay confident in yourself, and see where it takes you!!