I have been doing PhD for over three years and it is about time for me to share all the lessons and what have I learned.
Coffee/Caffeine will be your best friend – before I started PhD I enjoyed random coffee cup few times a week and mostly it was Lattes or Cappuccinos, something relaxing. After few years of PhD my bloodstream was replaced by caffeine, I need coffee in my life.
And no milk or Lattes with sparkles on top. Pure black coffee.
It is never going to be ENOUGH – The problem with science that you can always do one more experiment or read another paper, but after that experiment you might do another one or read yet another paper. It is never enough and there is no STOP point. From my experience you have to draw line yourself and tell yourself ‘enough is enough’.
All acronyms will remind you of science – I was walking the other day and I saw “DP” acronym on some estate agency and I straight away thought – dermal papilla (regulates hair growth) or there is this bus that stops near my lab building that has “MCT” written and again for me it is Mast Cell Tryptase. Please tell me if you work in science and you also have this problem?!
Seeing famous scientist speaking will give you the same excitement as your favourite childhood pop start – I went to a few big conferences during my PhD and it was fantastic (highly recommend to go to all big meetings!). In every science field there are a few key researchers that do wonderful research and you follow their lead so every time I went to see a key note speakers I would get super excited. I even went to chat with one of them and I literally felt I was blushing…
You will have days/weeks when you don’t care how you look like – I have to admit, I love fashion, beautiful clothes and luxury items. Before I started PhD dressing up everyday was something exciting for me, I would wear shoes that would give me massive blisters but common it looked good! However, PhD changed my mindset and leggings became my best friend (stylish ones you know Gigi Hadid sort of style) and now I have way too may Nike shoes. Comfort is very important in the lab and having massive almond butter stain on favourite comfy hoodie is a sad day because you can’t wear it. Also, thanks god for dry shampoo.
You will become a new person – when I started my PhD I was a bit of party animal and the only kitchen items I had was a pan and salt. Idea about staying in on Friday night was a torture for me, same as cooking, why would I ever want that?! And where I am three years later? Friday wearing wooly socks and cooking something delicious in the kitchen. Literally, I love having home comfort now and trying new recipes, some people who know me well ask me “What happened to You?!” simple answer – PhD.
Don’t have a specific time plan – Honestly, you can do the most beautiful and well organised time line for all your experiments and work. Planning to be done with that experiment in two weeks? Forget it. Majority of time science will do this trick when nothing works or
something just goes wrong. You can estimate how long it will take but it is impossible to have tip-top final dates for your experiments. Thats’ science for you ( two times works, third doesn’t).
So here I am, three years later I am holding my strong cup of coffee and thinking how many great things happened during my PhD. It is certainly a learning curve and a big chapter in live.
Please let me know if you do PhD and what experience you had! Also, if you do any other job what have you learned about yourself?
Have a wonderful day xx
I am Laura, 26 Lithuanian living in Manchester. I spend my days in the lab working on hair follicles and in the evening I share my love about hair cosmetics and how to have beautiful hair!