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Survive and Thrive

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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Hot Tips for Creating a Scientific Special Interest Group at Your Institute

Universities are often organized by faculties, colleges, schools, and/or departments. So, as an academic, you often work closely with colleagues studying similar subject areas. A common interest, however, often transcends the boundaries of this organizational structure. Enter scientific special interest groups. What Are Scientific Special Interest Groups? Scientific special interest groups are member-led initiatives within…

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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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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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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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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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Five Tips to Increase Your Lab Efficiency

Starting a PhD program is both an exciting time as well and a challenging one… One of the main things that keeps most PhD students up nights, is rethinking their steps in the lab during the day.  Did I do that one thing I may not have? Is that one reagent back in the fridge?…

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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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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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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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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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Are you being bullied by your boss?

There are many kinds of supervisors out there, ranging from the amazingly laid back to the crazy micromanagers. There are various strategies for dealing with all of them, but what do you do when your boss is a bully?

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