So today at last, after a lengthy 4 months, my face was reacquainted with its old friend the razor! In this period my face had sprouted a rather glorious beard, but today I felt it was the right time to say goodbye and start afresh (and sure enough, my face does feel rather fresh!)…
After (with a very wonky circular barbell lip piercing)!
And the transformation will not stop there; tomorrow morning I have a date with a barber…
Today couldn’t have gone any better.
I feel absolutely exhausted, and my brain feels ready to burst with everything I’ve had to take in today – where things are in the lab, who’s who, how to work various new pieces of kit, and all the tidbits of information thrown at me throughout the day – but the work is exciting, the environment stimulating, and I couldn’t ask for nicer colleagues. It’s going to be tiring, and it’ll be tough at times, but it’ll also be fulfilling and absolutely fascinating!
I’m so grateful that this opportunity has come my way, especially so early in my career, and I look forward not only to my time in this role but also the many doors I am certain this experience will open in the future. Most of all, it feels very satisfying to know that the continued effort throughout my studies – long days in the library, and nights spent studying when I’d have rather slept – have paid off.
Yes, I’m just a cog in a much greater machine, and no, I won’t be rich or famous, but I’m still living a lifelong dream and am exactly where I want to be. And that’s enough for me…
… For now, anyway.
Tomorrow I begin my new job, and I couldn’t be more excited (if also a little nervous). It’s been only three days since I found out I’d got it, so still doesn’t quite feel real yet! After years of studying and hard work it feels rewarding to know that my first graduate position is not only within my field of study, but everything I’d hoped to one day end up doing as a starry-eyed high schooler considering what I might like to do with my future (though it is a bit overwhelming that that future – which felt so far away back then – is now upon me!).
Most of all I feel blessed that I haven’t needed to settle for something I’m less passionate about as a stopgap job, as is the norm nowadays. It is an opportunity I will not waste!
Come Monday I will start my new job as a research scientist at a biotechnology startup at the forefront of immunology, drug delivery, and probiotics. The role promises everything I could have hoped for: exciting work in a field I am passionate about, working alongside a highly motivated and inspiring team of world-leading researchers, and the opportunity to contribute to projects with the potential to make a real difference.
Almost as interesting as the role itself is the story of how I got it; this morning, as I headed in to my old university to enquire about PhD opportunities, I was completely unaware that the job was even available – and now the position is mine. Contrary to what you might expect I did not hear of this opportunity during the discussion itself (though it was interesting and informative), but rather it resulted from my acting upon a single piece of advice that I was given. That advice was to consider asking to see if there were any lab assistant or research posts or internships available in the meantime – as most courses of study begin in the summer term, some 10 months away yet.
The very first researcher I approached happens to be not only a professor at the university, but also the founder of the biotech startup of which I am now an employee. Upon hearing my enthusiasm for this area of research he presented the job opening to me, and before I knew it we were discussing my academic record and research experiences – my interview had begun. I am admittedly very fortunate that the professor is a stranger to neither me nor my work, having taught me throughout my undergraduate studies. It is also helpful that his laboratory is directly next door to that of the research group with whom I undertook a metabolomics project during my undergraduate studies (and whose head of research is my go-to academic referee).
Sometimes things just fall into place.