Don’t even know where to begin after such long absence!
Maybe with the reason why I’m writing something right now, even though it’s a very trivial one.. I’m at home being ill. Some kind of summer flu. Feel slightly better today, but still not up to cycling to the lab. So I have some spare time 🙂
How have the past 8 months been? Both a blast and a nightmare. To start with the negatives first: my supervisor and me are water and fire. We don’t get along. All of our interactions are very forced. It hasn’t gotten better since I stopped writing blog posts, if anything it’s gotten worse still. I’ve been surprised, puzzled, annoyed, upset, angry, sad or even all at once at this. I’m an easy-going person and I’ve never run into trouble like this. It’s a shame really, because it does negatively influence my time here in Oxford. Doing a course on Lab Management from EMBO has helped me greatly to understand some of it better and maybe more importantly how to handle it.
Then on to the more positive: personally, I’ve found my way here. After breaking up, I think I ended up at rock bottom but looking back at it, it’s the best thing that could’ve happened. At 29 years, I’m finally making my own choices in everything I do, which is an eye-opener and something I thoroughly enjoy for the time being. The troubles with my supervisor have helped me to also put the lab in perspective: in the end, it’s just work. So I’ve picked up some more hobbies again, the piano, running & swimming, found a bunch of lovely people to play board games with. Having a pint after work with some colleagues or watching a champions league game. My life seems more than okay again 🙂
Also professionally I’ve grown. I’ve learned so much on how to handle difficult people, I’m sure it’s going to come in handy sooner or later. My life until Oxford had been so ridiculously easy and linear, it was about time something happened that would allow me to learn to deal with different stresses as well. Now, the damage is limited. I’ll try to publish my findings within the next year and it will definitely not be the big thing I was hoping for when I started here, but it’s okay and then that’s that. The effect would probably be a lot bigger if anything like this had happened when setting up my own lab. At least I’m now not as naive as I was when starting here and can hopefully avoid making the same mistakes again.
So yeah, the short summary is that I’m alive and kicking, doing well and learning. The next period will be quite exciting, as I’ll start looking for what’s coming after this postdoc: another postdoc? Setting up my own lab? Something outside academia?
My plan for the blog is to pick it up again and write a few posts about what I’ve learned the past year on handling a difficult supervisor, on developing a project with little direct support, about the teaching I’ve been doing, but I’ll also definitely write about the choices ahead of me 🙂