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Personal Development

How to Optimise Your Intern

Are you mentoring an intern and nervous about how to be a good boss? This quirky and offbeat article has got some great tips!

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Online Learning Resources for Scientists Working From Home

From bad weather to rail strikes or global pandemics, there are several reasons you may find yourself working from home. After writing up any outstanding grant proposals or papers, reviewing the literature, and perusing the endless field of coronavirus news updates, what’s a scientist to do? Brush up on your non-lab skills, of course! We…

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Marching for Science: How to Become a Science Advocate

In this webinar, you will learn: Why advocating for science is necessary (and why you should be an advocate) How to be an effective advocate for science, using skills gained during your career Ways for you to get involved in science advocacy Have you ever thought about getting out from behind your microscope or lab…

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Flashing Red Signs During a Job Interview

In all the stress of having a job interview, it’s easy to forget that it takes more than one to tango. In fact, a job interview is like a new flat mate interview. While your prospective boss and colleagues are interviewing you and assessing your fit for the lab, you should also keep your eyes…

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Can’t Decide Between Medical School or Graduate School?

For the longest time I just couldn’t decide between medical school and graduate school. I mean come on, being a physician would be great. I could save lives just like they do on TV! But on the other hand, being a biomedical scientist excited me just as much. You can’t tell me you’ve never dreamt…

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Recognizing Anxiety in Graduate School

Graduate school can seem like a constant battle between which of your friends works the hardest and which is the most miserable. However, if being miserable doesn’t interest you, I have some experience recognizing anxiety and seeking help. Depression and anxiety are conditions closely associated with getting a PhD. Experiencing these conditions can be isolating,…

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Lactation in the Lab: What You Need to Know About Pumping at Work

When you think about having a baby, you picture all kinds of things. The good: cute baby clothes, new baby smell, unlimited cuddles. The bad: sleepless nights, bodily fluids, being on-call 24-7. You probably also give some thought to coming back to work. You planned out your maternity leave, paid or not, and figured out…

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Coping with Bereavement as a PhD Student

Imagine being a PhD student whose life mostly revolves around the lab until you are hit by the worst news of your life. You have just lost one or both of your parents and bereavement sets in. You still cannot really believe it, spend your nights crying, and find yourself grappling with a whole pile…

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Getting Through Graduate School: Advice from Beyond the Battlefield

“If you could go back in time, would you do it again?” It’s a question I’ve been asked more times than I can remember. If I knew what getting a PhD entailed, would I still have gone for it? I wish I could tell you “Absolutely”, but the truth is more like “I don’t know”.…

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Five Reasons Why You Should Have Hobbies While in Graduate School

You’ve chosen a career in science and gone off to graduate school because you love doing it. For you, lab is home. You are so used to wearing your lab coat all the time that when you go to the kitchen to boil water for your coffee, you can’t do it without wearing an apron!…

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Are You any Less of a Scientist after You Transition to Non-Bench Science?: Opinion

In this ever-evolving world, scientists in “alternative”, non-academic positions are more commonplace than ever. Gone are the days where ideas of leaving bench science would label you as a “sell-out”. Now there is a push to support every scientist, regardless of their goals. Whatever the reason for this shift in opinion, be it the realization…

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How a Career in Science Prepares you for Parenthood

Science is a career unlike any other. At times it can seem like the tools we gain can’t be used in any other profession. But that is where you are wrong! Unlike other occupations, going to graduate school and/or devoting your life to science actually prepares you for parenthood – in case you were worried…

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How I Learned to Love Science All Over Again

A lot of grad students have probably seen this blog post on the development of science and had a good laugh about it. Long story short, if you imagine that all of human knowledge is a circle, the specialized research that you do is just a small part of the circle. When you contribute to your…

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Advocacy for Scientists – Why and How

Advocating for the research that scientists perform is important.  Your advocacy helps politicians and the general public understand why funding is needed. In fact, many funding agencies require a disease to be associated with the research, because citizens and politicians do not typically care to fund projects unless they foresee a cure or treatment. Scientific advocacy…

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Be More Objective in Your Approach to Science

Part of the fun of science is the opportunity to conjure up hypotheses and ways in which to test them. Of course, being scientists, our ideas are highly thought out and logical. We aim to test the hypothesis which we think is the most likely explanation using the available supporting evidence. In addition, it is…

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How Taking Time Off Can Prepare You For Grad School

Halfway through college I decided I wanted to go to grad school. But for a little while, I entertained the idea of taking time off after graduation. So, I asked around for advice – I wanted to cover all my bases before committing to another five years of school. But with what I know now,…

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Reframing – A Way to Cope With Stress in Graduate School

I’m an anxiety-ridden stress ball 90% of the time. Graduate school only amplifies my nervous energy, and it’s a struggle. However, recently, while I rushed to catch a bus, I had a life altering experience using a mental technique called “reframing” From “Flipping Out” to Flipping the Switch to “Cool” It rained heavily. I balanced…

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Thanking Hardship in Science: One Reason to Appreciate Struggle and Failure

A scene from the 90s hit sitcom Home Improvement about parenting and dealing with children’s problems has stuck with me for years. As he often did, the father figure, Tim Taylor, sought advice from his eccentric neighbor, Wilson. In this episode, Wilson’s point was that parents deal with little problems when their kids are little.…

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Pregnancy and Post-docing: A Case Study

Deciding to start a family with your partner is one of the most exhilarating and frightening times you’ll likely ever experience, outside of welcoming the little F1 to the world that is. Your job should not be an inhibitory factor in making that decision. We all know that post-docs live in a purgatory of sorts:…

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Science on Wheels: How to Bring Science to the Masses with a Mobile Lab!

Ask a scientist why they love their job, and they will likely tell you it’s because they get to see and discover amazing things! Why, then, does science class in school never reflect this? A major problem identified in our society is lack of science interest and literacy. Mobile labs are helping to turn the…

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Five Ways Science Outreach Can Benefit Your Benchwork!

You’ve had a rough day at the bench, putting in long, grueling hours with no pay-off. Your fantasy of running away to join the circus starts sounding rational. The last thing on your mind is to add to your already overloaded schedule. Yet as crazy as it sounds, participating in science outreach really improved my…

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Dealing with tension and conflict in the lab

A busy research lab can be a challenging place to work for a variety of reasons. Science is a high pressure environment, often with looming grant or research paper deadlines, troublesome reagents, and experimental failure. Combined, these factors can cause many kinds of strife in the workplace, here are a few examples and some of my top tips for dealing with them!

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Perfectionism: Are you on the downward spiral?

Do you fear failure every time you do an experiment? Do you feel constantly stressed about obtaining poor results? Do you feel personally culpable when an experiment goes wrong? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you may be suffering from perfectionism. For a scientist, this is a particularly damaging trait…

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Taking Care of Your Mental Health

This article mentions of suicidal thoughts. If you are having thoughts of self-harm, I encourage finding someone to talk to. It can be a family member, friend, or professional counselor. Many countries also have suicide hotlines. Mental Health is often not a priority for institutions or individuals in academia. Making institutions friendlier will take time,…

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Denied: How to Deal with Rejection in Research

It is amazing to get that “Eureka!” moment or finally get that assay to work, but the downside of those moments is that we do face a lot of rejection. Scientists push the envelope of human knowledge and that means we have to deal with a fair amount of negativity in our line of work.…

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How To Be Happier and More Productive in Your Work

In this webinar, presented by Bitesize Bio founder, Nick Oswald, you will learn: How going with the crowd is toxic to your happiness in science (or any career), and what to do about it. The role your habits play in shaping your productivity and happiness, and how to form habits that serve you. How a…

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Parlez-vous Français? Top Tips for Making the Most of Your Time in a Foreign Lab

Whether as a summer intern, exchange student, MSc, PhD or post-doctoral student, working abroad can be one of the many perks of working within the sciences. Although these experiences will often require substantial planning in advance, there are funding opportunities and many receptive destinations around the globe. During my undergraduate degree, graduate studies hadn’t been…

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6 Common Fears When Entering the Lab and How to Deal With Them

The prospect of walking into the lab for the first time to do some ‘real’ research is hugely exciting. Ambitious thoughts fill your mind about what a brilliant research scientist you are about to become, making that all-important difference and saving the world. That is, until you step over the threshold and The Fear overcomes…

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Buffering Your Life with Wellness

I don’t think I need to say that life as a grad student is hard… but I did anyway. When you’re in grad school there are many demands on your time and energy. Although research productivity is generally the main interest of PIs and grad students, it only relates to one, albeit major, area of…

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Feeling like a failure?

Everyone else in the lab is so much smarter and more capable than you and feel that your accomplishments so far in your career are no big deal. On top of that your ligation didn’t work… again.., your boss is always on your back and you are dreading your upcoming poster presentation. Sometimes you feel…

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Stop Pushing, Start Enjoying and Get Better Results at the Bench (and in Your Life)

Most of the time, research (and life!) can feel like a struggle. Constant deadlines, incessant demands, pressure to get results, grants, job, publications – and dealing with irritating colleagues and bosses. You know what I mean. The struggle saps your energy, and removes the color from your life. It reduces your capacity to focus on your…

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The Pros and Cons of a Life in Academic Science

The great thing about being a scientist is, well… that you get to be a scientist!  And it can be fun and rewarding. But being a scientist can be a nasty stressful business too. As I come to a turning point in my ‘academic career’, I find myself making mental notes of the pros and…

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Scientists: Can any of us REALLY multi-task?

Unlike Nick Oswald I think I can multitask in the lab. If I organize my day efficiently and perform lots of experiments and other tasks in parallel, I get more done. But there is a school of thought – the one described in Nick’s article – that says no-one can really multitask, that our brains…

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Scientists Work Too Much – Is this Bad for Science?

In my time in the lab, I came across people with lots of different work ethics. The lazy scientists, the let-everybody-else-do-all-the-hard-work-for-me scientists, the strictly-nine-to-five scientists, the nocturnal scientists, the always-on-holiday scientists and, of course, the workaholic scientists. Science is no easy trade. It’s time consuming, and the pressure to get results can be huge. It’s…

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