2nd year

Once again, so much has happened since my last post… here’s a short summary of my last two months as a PhD student:

Academia

  • I am officially a second year, “real” PhD student! Until now, I was only a PhD candidate, basically on “probation”. In the beginning of September, I had my first year thesis committee meeting. I was fairly nervous about this as it is one of the biggest milestones of a PhD, evaluating both your personal progress on the way to becoming an independent scientist and your project and future plans. If things are not going well and you don’t feel good in your project, you may be transferred to an MPhil degree instead – but I did not want that to happen. Luckily, it didn’t. Although my committee and I decided to take a slightly different angle on my project and make minor changes to what I will be doing in the upcoming two years, everything went well and the changes will make my project even more interesting.
Sunset

The days are getting shorter – meaning the sun now sets when I get home or even before, but sometimes I get to witness stunning and colourful sunsets behind the beautiful old tenements of Edinburgh.

  • I presented my work at the Centre Progress Seminar of the Centre for Neuroregeneration. This was probably the talk with the biggest audience I had to give so far, and I was also nervous about this as all of the principal investigators, postdocs and PhD students in the Centre attend it – all of these people do great research so trying to meet the standards can be intimidating.

 

control-3-2

I made a GIF of a neuron firing (I know, I am very nerdy). I love calcium imaging!

Volunteer work

  • I am now one of the deputy editors of the eusci (Edinburgh university science) magazine. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I have been writing for eusci for the past three issues, but now I wanted to get more involved with the magazine. I am very excited about this new role and the challenges it will bring – keep an eye on the website and the future issues 😉 We are also always looking for writers for News articles (for the website or printed magazine), so if you would like to do something like that, please get in touch!

Free time

This rarely happens, as there is always something more to do or read in the lab, but it is important to make time once in a while and free your mind from thoughts of apoptotic neurons and microglia (in my case…).

  • I spent some time in August “slacking off” back home in Austria, and spent a few additional days in Italy. After a relatively rainy summer in Scotland, the rays of sun were much appreciated by my skin!
  • My flatmate and I (both MSc Integrative Neuroscience alumnae) spent one weekend visiting one of our former master’s colleagues who now does her PhD in Oxford. A few other alumni also showed up so it was almost a mini-reunion! It was really lovely meeting my friends again, especially since I did not get to see some since we graduated last November.
  • To anyone who loves dogs but can’t afford to have one or does not have enough time throughout their studies, I highly recommend Borrow My Doggy – I think that dogs have a therapeutic effect on my stress levels and just make me very happy in general. I have been walking a gorgeous husky called Ghost (Game of Thrones inspired, I believe) and its little Friend Quine and this has brightened a few of my past weekends.

    Blackford hill dog walks

    The view from Blackford Hill. In the back, you can see Edinburgh Castle and the sea.

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