February started off with me coming down with flu and ended with me only cycling 10 out of 28 days (150 km for my Feb total). I know, I know. I already get ‘bike-shamed’ (a term I’m using to describe making someone feel bad for not cycling) by a colleague so I don’t need it from you too. My bike is still good. No punctures, no more lights lost but the chain is looking a bit rusty and started to squeak while I’m cycling! Eek! I’m just googling how to fix it and it’s going to be faff! The whole bike desperately needs a clean up from salt and dirt. I’m going to save this job for a nice spring weekend and I’m hoping we’ll get this in March!
In November it all came together and I realised that maybe I have planned to much. Definitely, because I only had 90 DKK left in the account until payday! One day, one day I will be a real adult and have money left in my account at the end of the month. Anyway, it was totally worth it as I forged some new friendships, dined at two Michelin-starred restaurants, had a couple of really really good science days, learnt some new things and submitted another fellowship application!
Well, it can’t always be amazing or easy. So to stick to this blog being an honest diary I will just tell it like it is. September was a tough month for me but it was also a month where I have got the most things done! It might not be much but keeping these baby steps in mind will help me build a picture of what I have achieved over time. And yes, I know I have to not be so hard on myself but when you’re in a deep dark hole it can be difficult to think logically.
We have come to the end of the post-PhD career profile series where we’ve heard from my friends who have left academia and those who have stayed. I hope that it was useful and inspiring for those who are currently doing a PhD. You may have noticed that people left/stayed in academia for many different reasons. There isn’t a formula for what you should or shouldn’t do but I have noticed some trends which I want to summarise.
Douglas Dyer, Postdoc at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
Doug did his PhD in Immunology at the University of Manchester, based at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research in Tony Day’s lab. He focussed his PhD on the interactions between the anti-inflammatory regulator TSG-6 and chemokines during immune cell recruitment. As he was interested in the field of chemokine biology and the immune system he decided to continue working in this field and started a postdoc in Tracy Handel’s lab at UCSD. Doug worked there for two and a half years and enjoyed living right on the San Diego beach.
Elaine Emmerson, Postdoc at the University of California, San Francisco, USA
Elaine started her academic career as a research technician at the University of Manchester. Six months into a project investigating impaired wound healing, she realised that academic research was her true calling and started a PhD a year later. After her PhD she was awarded a prestigious fellowship from The Healing Foundation, naming her the David Hammond Charitable Foundation Postdoctoral Research Associate. After her PhD, she made the transatlantic journey to UCSF as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Program in Craniofacial Biology.
Rowann Bowcutt, Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London, London, UK
Rowann did her PhD in Immunology at the University of Manchester. After she finished, she moved to New York University School of Medicine to do a postdoc which involved working in a clinical trial. She also thought it had the potential to create opportunities for her in the future. [It has already, recently her work on parasitic worms from her postdoc was published in Science!]