18 April 2014

The Blogging Scientist

Hi! I’m Laura Jane! I’m busy getting my PhD in Chemistry. A PhD (or Doctorate of Philosophy) is an advanced research degree. This entails doing your own research on something unexplored and exciting! It’s lots of hard work, but you will learn SO much: not only about your field of choice, but also about yourself! A PhD should also equip you with a multitude of skills, such as problem solving, critical thinking, scientific communication skills and sheer determination to get things done! If you’re lucky, there may even be some international travel involved.


I ended up in Chemistry because I love being able to understand how everything around me works! My job is basically like playing with Lego, only instead of plastic bricks, I use molecules to build whatever my imagination leads to! Pretty cool, right?
My typical work day can focus around several different aspects: admin, lab work, analysis, writing, literature review and teaching. My average work days range from 8 to 12 hours long (longer if there is a deadline coming up). I’m also taking some extra courses (online) to expand my expertise. At the end of the busy day, I look forward to dinner at home, a big glass of red wine and then a chance to get to blogging.
My workspace is a little different to most peoples – because in addition to my office desk, I also have a lab! It looks rather different to the labs you may have seen on TV shows (we don’t have infinite money to buy all the shiny things, and there aren’t any flasks filled with coloured liquid standing around) but it’s where the magic happens! Of course, no day in the lab is complete without the right playlist to keep you going! My music choices vary with my mood, but lab days normally require upbeat music that I can sing/dance along to! (Admit it, most days become better with some 80s music!)
Sometimes when you’re stuck in the lab, struggling by yourself, it helps to gain some perspective – you’re not alone! PhD Comics is excellent at describing the life of a PhD student!
Another excellent way of keeping up with the adventures of other scientists is with twitter! I love seeing what other chemists are doing on a daily basis through the hashtag #RealTimeChem (from the informative to the humorous). Another good one is #OverlyHonestMethods – scientists confessing what really happens behind the results! Of course, being a blogger, I also follow a lot of chemistry-themed blogs.
Overall, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else!

Think that being a scientist might be for you? Here are my top tips:

Want to go into science but don’t know what field you would like to go into? That’s ok! Many people start off with any BSc (Bachelor of Science degree) that covers Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology in the first year, and then in their second year switch to a degree program that specialises in the field that has caught their interest. Flexibility/ changing fields is always an option, especially as you learn more and get exposed to what different fields really entail.
      
     Currently in an undergraduate program and unsure of what you want to do next? Speak to your lecturers! They’re all (a) real people who went through what you’re going through and (b) 90% of the time, genuinely interested in helping you. Even if they can’t help you personally, they can always point you in the right direction.
      Have any specific questions that you would like to ask me? You can tweet me (@laurajane0103) or email me at laura[at]whimsyisforever[dot]com.
      
     Images - Laura Jane's

10 comments:

  1. Fabulous post darling !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. I agree, Laura Jane's such a talented, clever girl. :)

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  3. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do this post :)

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  4. I'm so honored. :) Well written + amazing post. Thank you Laura Jane. xo

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