So I have started a blog to document my trials and tribulations as a PhD student. I’ve read a couple of blogs about the same thing, including my friend and fellow PhD student Sarah, and it seems like a fun thing to do. If anything, it can at least serve as a place for me to just let out all my thoughts, though I doubt it will be very interesting to read (which, sadly, is meant to be the point of a blog). Anyway, I think I should probably introduce myself. My name’s Laura, and I’m currently in my first year of my PhD in Marine Biology. My PhD, more specifically, is about ocean acidification and its impact on phytoplankton physiology and community structure. I not only do lab work, but get to undertake some field work on some research cruises, one of which goes to Antarctica. So that will be pretty awesome. In fact, the original idea I had for a blog was to document my journeys on the cruises. But then I thought, hey, the whole 3 years is a journey, let’s just write about all of it.
I started in October, so I’ve only been going about 2 and a half months, but I feel daunted by the fact I have already almost reached the end of the first term. My first supervisory board meeting is on Thursday, and while I know everyone who is going to be there (and there’s only going to be three people), it’s still kind of scary. Initially I thought it helped that I had chosen to do a dissertation for my Masters this summer in pretty much the same topic area. I knew the methods, how to set my cultures of microalgae up, and had done quite a lot of reading into the subject already. But the more I read into it, the more I realise I didn’t actually understand it at all. Every paper I read is like finding a piece of a jigsaw that I thought I’d finished. Having spoken to some friends who are either in their final year or have just passed their viva, it seems it’s pretty normal to experience this, but it still frustrates me sometimes. I’m constantly having to adjust the context of my experiments in my head, and sometimes I find out something I wish I’d known a few months ago because I could have taken that into consideration in my analysis.
Well, maybe that’s enough out pouring on poor, innocent passers-by! I’ll see if I can keep this updated about once a week, that shouldn’t impede too much on my life. I just hope that this feeling of running around like a headless chicken dissipates.
Though it probably won’t.