Here I am. Halfway trough my PhD thesis. Already.
I did not even have that much time to think about it yet. Lab life, and life outside got more busy and hectic then usual; and somehow it does not fell that it will slow down anytime soon. Everybody tells me that a PhD goes like an exponential curve. A slow and relaxed start, but a fast acceleration towards the ends. Right know I can feel I am right at the moment of final acceleration -already- because let’s face it, 2 years is nothing in research time.
So why not reflect on these 2 first years of being a PhD student. After my master’s, I though I knew already many things, and that doing a PhD would not be such a new experience. Well, could I have been more wrong ? I explained in a previous post what is is to be a happy PhD student, and how nice it can be. The amount of things I learned since two years is tremendous.
1. I am grateful to have landed in a such a good lab. Nice colleagues, nice atmosphere, and nice supervisor. I had just the right amount of supervision, and the right amount of space and liberty to blossom without to much pressure or competition. I think the most important thing I learned is a certain way to think about science; and a way of doing it in a realistic but also joyful and exciting manner. I am very conscious of all the things I still have to get a grasp at, but for the first time it feels like this is doable. It’s not that scary anymore.
2. Also, I feel like I belong to the scientific community now. As a candid, naive, new member; but member nevertheless. I am getting more and more interested in the history of science, scientists, and the way it truly works (or let’s say, always carries on despite of all the rest of the world events) . I have an growing list of book, articles, blogs I want to read, and only worry about the fact that I will never have enough time in my life to read about all the things I’m interested in.
3. Also, just as importantly, I feel like I belong to this new generation of scientist that can make things change. (Yes, I am an optimistic) I will write about this much more in the coming months, but I see and hear science changing, voices raising. Scientist talk on twitter, blog about their research, ask for open access, text mining, alternative ways of publication, men/women equality, better work conditions, and recognition by society. It’s like we’re reaching this point where people are too unhappy to let the system go on. And I definitely want to be part of the change.
So now, 2 more years. To get more data, publish, make to most out of it, and figure out what will be next. We will see. I’ve never been too much of a planner.