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Survive and Thrive

Does Humility Harm Your Career?

Jumpstarting Your Career as a Happy ScientistDoes Humility Harm Your Career? Date: 1 September 2021Time: 11:00 EDT | 16:00 BST | 17:00 CEST Whether you’re new to the lab or a seasoned principal investigator, isn’t it time you started being happy in your chosen career as a scientist? Wondering if this is practical or even…

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The Difference Between Efficiency and Optimization

Jumpstarting Your Career as a Happy ScientistThe Difference Between Efficiency and Optimization Date: 1 September 2021Time: 11:00 EDT | 16:00 BST | 17:00 CEST Whether you’re new to the lab or a seasoned principal investigator, isn’t it time you started being happy in your chosen career as a scientist? Wondering if this is practical or…

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What Constitutes a Happy Scientist?

Jumpstarting Your Career as a Happy ScientistWhat Constitutes a Happy Scientist? Date: 26 August 2021Time: 11:00 EDT | 16:00 BST | 17:00 CEST Whether you’re new to the lab or a seasoned principal investigator, isn’t it time you started being happy in your chosen career as a scientist? Wondering if this is practical or even…

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Struggles of a Life Scientist

Working late nights or weekends in the lab—we’ve all been there. Why isn’t your cell culture considerate enough to get to exponential phase during normal business hours, anyway? Maybe you just need utter peace and quiet while you pipette hundreds of wells worth of stinky beta-mercaptoethanol. Or perhaps you’re using your wealth of microbiology knowledge…

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How to Get Over Impostor Syndrome as a New Graduate Student

You made it. You got into the grad school of your dreams! You worked hard, you spent hours working on your application, bravely navigated your way through the interview and you now are here. So, why do you feel like maybe you shouldn’t be? Why You Might Suffer From Impostor Syndrome The dreaded impostor syndrome:…

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The Night Shift: Experiences at a National Synchrotron

Pulling an over-nighter is a common theme for many of my college friends. I, however, like my sleep—particularly between midnight and 7 am. Therefore, I tend not to stay up late to study and avoided jobs that required me to work a night shift. Then, I went to grad school and had to put in…

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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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5 Surprisingly Accurate Science Movies

There’s nothing better than relaxing at the end of a long week with a good movie. As scientists, we are drawn to analyze (and sometimes overanalyze) the accuracy of science movies and especially their portrayal of scientists. Being the movie aficionado that I am, I looked for movies that are not typically touted for their…

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The Dumbed-Down Thesis: A Little Reddit Fun

Science talk can be cryptic, and scientists are realizing that nobody knows what the heck they’re talking about half of the time. To combat this, science communication lobbyists have done a great job of introducing new ways to communicate science that don’t involve babbling on and on. Have you ever practiced a 30 Second Elevator…

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Transitioning out of the Lab: B­­­­reaking up Is Hard to Do

Working in a research lab is not a normal job. The hours are often unconventional and the tasks can run from exciting to mundane—it’s a world all of its own. Even so, your loyalty to your field and people is unmatched; there is a level of comradery you experience that is unlike any other. This…

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How to Avoid Feeling Isolated During Graduate School

Try to recall the last time you were not alone in the lab at 11pm on a Friday night running an experiment. If you found that to be difficult, then this article is definitely for you. Here are ways to avoid feeling isolated during your Ph.D. studies. Build a Network of Friends and Colleagues Building a…

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How to Approach your First Experiments as a New PhD Student

For many students, a PhD project is the first opportunity to really sink your teeth into your very own research project over a long period of time. This initial period is exciting but can also be a little daunting. Where do you begin? How do you actually design your first experiments? I mean, what are…

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PhD: Staying Positively Headstrong and Determined

Hello, my name is Emilee and it’s been 5 months since I last yelled “That’s it, I quit graduate school!” It comes in waves, like the build-up of ripples at the beach followed by the crash against the shore’s rocks, or the slow and steady climb up a rail on a roller coaster followed by…

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Aliens from Outerspace: Navigating a Lab in the West

If you find it very difficult to call your boss by her first name, feel obligated to wear business casual clothes to the lab, or reckon that it’s slightly weird that your fellow PhD candidates are inviting you to a casual night out instead of to the library to study, then like me, you just…

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5 Things I Would’ve Told Myself Before Starting Graduate School

Having just finished graduate school, I have been given the privilege of nearly unlimited time to reflect (Yay! Unpaid, Boo!). Graduate school was, for me, a juxtaposition of intellectual growth, real-world learning and great fun. An introduction to adulthood with training wheels—while simultaneously being a blur of anxiety, work, sleepless nights and existential crises. I…

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7 Helpful Tips to Get You Through Your First Grad School Week

It’s official. You’ve signed on the dotted line and you are about to begin the most exciting and frustrating journey into the depths of the unknown: a journey otherwise known as a PhD. You’ve heard the horror stories from previous students; the cloning that wouldn’t work for reasons unknown to man, the data that indicates…

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5 Tips for a Stress Free Research Life

We’ve all been there. You have a favorite scientist and a favorite research topic. You’re passionate and motivated. It’s all going good … and then. All of a sudden, you’re spending sleepless nights with the coffee machine. You’re attempting statistical analysis of your data for the first time and wishing you were bald. The clock…

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Five Ways to Help You Achieve Happiness in Graduate School

A number of studies have shown that work–life balance, as well as personal happiness, positively correlates with productivity, professional achievement and success. Looks like that happiness is not only a luxury but it might be a key ingredient for success.

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Graduate School and the Art of Balancing

Finishing my third year of grad school, I can’t help but notice what a balancing act it has been- research and relaxation, finances and fun, beer and…not beer? I wanted to write this article to advise incoming first years and veteran grad students – even those mysterious 7th year students- on graduate school and the…

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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Graduate School Edition

A PhD, like any worthy endeavor in life, requires hard work, patience and perseverance. It also involves challenges that will make you doubt your choice to pursuit an advanced degree in the first place. It is inevitable that a series of failed experiments or that one paper rejection will bring you down and temporarily make…

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Staying Ahead of the Pack in Undergraduate Research

Whether you’re just beginning, or nearing the end of your undergraduate career, getting involved in research can be overwhelming and stressful. There are many factors to consider, so keep it simple and focus on the most important ones: What area of research motivates you? What organisms do you find interesting? Are there any research professors…

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Could you Passage my Cells? How to Handle Lab Favors

Let’s face it, at least once in your lab life you are going to need a favor. You may need to go on vacation, you may be sick or you may just be a little overwhelmed at the bench. At least once, you will need to ask for a little help and someone will surely…

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Multitasking in the Lab by Not Multitasking at All

Working in a lab can be stressful, there is so much to do, and so little time to do it that we often feel overwhelmed. Sometimes you come into the lab and there are 15 experiments that just need to be done, so you throw on some music and start doing a bunch of them…

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How to Switch Mentors, Part 3: Actually Switching – Is it Worth it?

Grad school is a big investment of your time, with a lot riding on a successful relationship with your mentor.  Unfortunately, you may have realized that the relationship is not working and resists improvement.  You’ve taken the steps to switch to a new mentor. Now comes the hardest part. What do you actually say to…

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How to Switch Mentors, Part 2: Planning and Preparing to Switch

Much of your success and happiness in grad school depends on an effective relationship with your mentor.  Despite your best efforts, sometimes the first relationship doesn’t work out, and you need to switch mentors to succeed in your program.  But how do you prepare to change mentors mid-PhD? Step 1: Write it all down Before…

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Why You Should Talk to Sales Reps

People often joke about hiding from sales reps, but the fact of the matter is that valuable opportunities are lost when scientists disappear into thin air. Think twice before attempting your own vanishing act; a brief chat could reward you with amazing deals, introduce you to faster, better technology and keep you in the loop…

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How to Switch Mentors, Part 1: Recognizing Red Flags

Grad school is a long, hard, long, time-consuming, and–wait for it–long process. A bad relationship with your primary mentor can make it worse, and may even drive you away from a science career.  Unfortunately, you often can’t spot incompatibility until you’ve spent time with a mentor and lab.  Even then, how do you tell the…

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