The Little Engine that Could

I think that the thing I love most about fall/autumn other than jumpers and pumpkin spice is the leaves changing colours. There is just something comforting about the warm hues against the grey sky as can be witnessed in George Square Gardens.

I have said it before and I will definitely be saying it again, as a North American, I love the fact that I can get to so many different cities in different countries in just a few hours. I highly recommend travelling while in the UK. This month, I have been to Brussels, Belgium where I ate waffles and fries to my heart’s content and Düsseldorf, Germany where I bought enough Haribo gummies to last me my entire PhD (well they would if I followed the daily recommended intake of gummy candy).

PGSS talk
I gave a data talk as part of the Postgraduate Social Seminar Series. This was the first time that I had given a real presentation to people outside of my thesis committee. I think it was very worthwhile. Because the talks are for students across different fields in the School of Biomedical Sciences, not everyone lives and breathes synaptic vesicles as I do. It was rewarding (and a relief quite frankly) to know that I could properly explain my project and allow people to understand the techniques used, results obtained and conclusions (tentatively) concluded. The talk was also a good way to practice and gather courage to present another talk in a different probably more intimidating forum.

Despite my weekends on the Continent and in spite of unhealthy cells, my project is trudging along like The Little Engine that Could. Although I have to admit that things aren’t going as fast or as smoothly as I would like. I have spoken to other students who like me have just started their second year and somehow we all appear to be in the same position. Maybe our PhD honeymoon phase has ended and we aren’t as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as we were a year ago… Or maybe our grace period with the lab fairy is over and she has decided to strike… Whatever the case, I think that most PhD students face a slump at the beginning of their second year (this has been confirmed by 3rd and 4th year students). We just have to take a deep yoga breath and continue on assaying/ PCRing/ transfecting/ culturing/ imaging/ blotting/ ephysing/ analysing until we reach our goal and are standing there in our robes with our diploma and a few extra letters added on to our names. There will always be slower and harder periods in life, especially in science. We just have to power through it!

On that uplifting note, I will get back to my experiments while trying not to be dazzled by the fall colours!