It is finally my last week in the lab…and it’s a little unreal.
I am having a hard time grasping that I am almost actually done with Grad School and moving on to the next step in just a few weeks. I submitted my dissertation online finally, my committee has approved it, and I am just waiting for the final approval from Grad Division…
I have so many changes coming up, and I am a bit emotional. It is the end of an era, and it signals the end of something that has taken up a majority of my 20s. Six years is a long time, and as much as I struggled, laughed, loved it, and hated it, it’s a bittersweet end. I have met so many amazing people, and not so amazing people, all who have contributed to my growth as a scientist and also as a person.
I have been so productive in the lab these last few weeks, and even 3 days left of lab, I am busting out reactions and gels, and will be working until my very last day on Tuesday. Keep reading for some of my reflections.
I have been trying to wear some of my new clothes I have gotten and be more exploring of new trends, especially as lab is winding down. I have been a huge fan of off the shoulder tops, and this one is just one of my favorites. This black ruffle sleeve criss cross shoulder top from SheIn is just so casual yet dressy. Its easy to dress up or down depending on what you pair with it! And it’s so affordable on a grad student budget! Perfect for the lab, as its pretty casual, yet still covers up and has some pretty criss-cross details on the shoulder! Shows just the right amount of skin!
Why is it weird to me to leave the lab?
It has been my home away from home for the last six years. I have spent the majority of my 20s, most of my young adult life, learning how to be a better scientist, but also growing as a person, and growing into my own skin. It has been a wonderful yet also super difficult journey, and I have learned many lessons along the way, many of which I have blogged about in the past.
1. I have learned to ask questions, and to keep asking questions.
Training as a scientist, especially PhD level scientist, prepares you to be a leader, and part of that is asking QUESTIONS, and not leaving any stone unturned. This has bled into my everyday life, as every article, news, paper I read, I ask questions and look at both sides of the issue. I no longer believe everything I hear, and I always investigate before I come up with my opinion about something.
2. I have opened my eyes to the options available post PhD.
When you are in grad school, it is easy to feel pigeon-holed into one area of research, into one type of question, and to feel like career options are limited.
When applying to jobs, you must think about transferrable skills, rather than the specific skill you have done, like training undergraduates, running protein gels. When writing your CV, this translates to, mentoring junior students and aiding in their scientific training; analysis of proteolytic protein bands on SDS-PAGE. You see how I switched up the words to a more broad, transferrable set of skills? That is how you should think and phrase your skills on your CV and at interviews! And there are also more options than academia and post-docs. Explore explore explore, and get freelance experience doing extracurricular activities to broaden your scope!
3. Your mentor plays an important role in your development and confidence as a scientist.
I had the pleasure of having an amazing mentor throughout my PhD. He is one of the nicest and smartest people I have ever met, and I am so honored to have received my PhD training from him. He has always been so open to asking questions, letting me ask my own questions, allowing me to design projects while still lending a guiding hand. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Choose your mentor wisely. Rotations are there for a reason, and take advantage of them to try different mentoring styles to see what works best for you.
Top: SheIn Black Crisscross Shoulder Ruffle Top | Jeans: American Eagle Jeggings | Heels: Nine West
4. Emptying my desk and bench is going to be a rather sad moment.
I mentioned I will be rather sad to leave the lab even though I’ve spent more than enough time here. It marks the end of an important and major period of my life, but also signals change and good things to come. One cannot stay stagnant and hope to keep moving up in life. Change is a necessary and fruitful part of life!
5. I’m glad I had my blog throughout this whole time and experience.
I’m rather thankful to have had this blog and opportunity to express myself, keep it as a creative outlet, and also share my experiences and advice. Grad school may suck at times, but like I have shown, it’s possible to lead a balanced, happy life; you can’t take everything too seriously, as science is science, and science happens. Sometimes it doesn’t work, and it can be completely out of your control. What’s in your control is how you react and how you tackle the issues. That is how you differentiate the new students from the more advanced and PhD level Scientists!
Well, anyway, these are my reflections and I hope some of them resonate with you!
I wore this top to lab, and I felt rather good. It’s been hot in LA these last couple of weeks, but this top was perfect – shows the perfect amount of skin, while still being enough cover for the chilly air condition in the lab! Paired with comfortable stretchy jeans and some closed toed shoes, makes the perfect lab outfit. I dressed it up here with some heels, and can easily be worn out for happy hour or a casual night out with friends!
What do you think about this top? Do you like the off the shoulder top trend this summer? What are some of your reflections after a major period of your life comes to an end, whether its Post-PhD, Post-B.S., post- whatever! Let me know in the comments below, I’m sure I can relate!