…by Chiara / from Austria / PhD Neuroscience 2016-2019
Since my last blog post, not many things have changed here. Not surprisingly, I am still spending a lot of time in the lab and that time will not decrease for the next years, although I am not spending as much time as some other PhD students in higher years which come in every weekend and stay late. That makes me feel guilty and lazy sometimes, even though I am not a lazy person and nobody would describe me as one I guess (only when it comes to exercising, but that’s another story…). I try and organise my time in the lab really well so I can achieve a lot in the time I am in and no time is wasted. Planning is arguably the most important skill you need in your PhD (alongside with critical thinking, obviously…)
I know many people tell you to never bring home work in a PhD because that way you will never have any work-free zone, but I often take reading and writing tasks home with me as I just prefer having a beverage and snack next to me while doing these things. My desk at work is in the lab and we are not allowed any food or drink in there for Health&Safety reasons. I was never the type that worked well in a library and so I just do a lot of work at home as well. So far I still manage to get my head free after finishing work for the day, so that strategy seems to work for me 🙂
Although talking about the weather is mostly smalltalk (which I am not very great at), it is so great that the weather is taking a turn for the better now. The sun is now up from approximately 6am to 8.15pm, and it’s awesome to leave the lab in the evening and still see a little bit of sunlight if the weather permits it. Sadly it is not as warm as last year when I was able to wear shorts in April (well, in Scotland anything over 15 degrees is basically shorts-weather). However, we still managed to sit in the sun two weeks ago and spent a saturday lying in the meadows.
Exciting news mainly from the Pint of Science front. Edinburgh is the first UK city to have their talk schedule completely finished and online (click here) – I am proud of our team’s work. I also think we put together some really interesting topics and there will be something for everyone – from neuroscience (my obvious favourite) to physics and geography. The tickets will go on sale on the 18th of April. To keep updated, just check our Facebook page – and tell your friends if you like the idea. We spent some time handing out flyers for our events while dressed in Lab coats this weekend, and I was surprised by the positive response we received. I was mainly expecting grumpy people to walk past us without acknowledging our presence, but the idea of the Pint of Science Festival was well-received by the people that we talked to. Thank god Edinburgh is such a science-friendly city 🙂
Another nice thing that happened since my last post was me presenting my first “official” PhD poster at Edinburgh Neuroscience Day 2016. As I really liked Neuroscience Day last year, I was excited to visit again this year. My supervisor asked me to present a poster, and I happily obliged. It was the first ‘real-life’ poster presentation since the Poster I presented last year for my master’s degree. The feedback I received was really good, and the reviewers for the poster competition seemed impressed of how much data I already have, seeing that I am only in my 6th month, and said I was asking the right questions with my project. Yay 🙂 Although as a scientist, you have to be convinced of your own project, it is always great to hear that other people believe in it, too. You will hear a lot of criticism as a scientist, which is very useful to make your research better and remind you of points of view you may have missed, but it is nice to sometimes also hear nice words 🙂
Neuroscience Day 2016 was really good altogether. This year, the Edinburgh Neuroscience team implemented 3 minute talks by final year PhD students presenting their project. I really enjoyed these talks and was astonished by how good they were – putting your whole thesis in 3 minutes is a form of art. Sadly, I was not able to take many pictures as I was at my poster answering questions to people who were interested in our lab’s work, but there are plenty on the Edinburgh Neuroscience Facebook page. 🙂
Thanks for reading 🙂