>phd_year(4) = 4

“My head has thoughts; what a ridiculous place to start”

I am late writing this week, but I promise, it’s for a good reason. But actually, I’m kind of calling this one in anyway.

This week I was at a conference just outside Washington D C, focusing on Science Communication. I mentioned this before in a previous post – the one about the write-a-thon piece that I was so excited to write.

I’m late writing about the experience for a few reasons. First, I am exhausted. I was feeling pretty down and out in the days leading up to the drive to Washington, and I think I carried that through the whole week. I didn’t do myself any favors either, deciding after the final session on Tuesday, to drive all night, back to Canada. I left around 8 pm and was in bed by about 6 am.

Second, I don’t know what I got out of the conference. Not in a bad way. I can tell you by the time I starfished in my bed, I was thinking it was “in a bad way”. I have been putting off writing about the conference to give myself some room to really unpack everything.

I’m not going to dive into the conference today, but I do want to share some of the things that have been swimming around my brain since getting back. I’m going to present it as a list to emphasize that I haven’t fully worked out my thoughts on these things.

  • I have unreasonable expectation of myself, and when someone else’s reaction doesn’t line up with my expectations, I take it poorly.
  • Inclusion, diversity, and removing barriers for underrepresented people is extremely important everywhere, but something felt different in the USA. It felt urgent and pressing, and I left with a feeling of, “we appreciate your concern, but what are you doing, exactly, to help?”
  • I am most interested in science journalism. Most people at this conference seemed to be interested in promoting their science through media. The difference is striking.
  • The idea that “scientists are unique in thinking they are unique in looking at bettering the future.” I was shocked by a lot of the discussion during the Science in Policy panel. Actually, this one was huge.

I met a lot of wonderful people who are doing awesome science. I met a lot of people who really care about the scientific community. Now that I’m coming out of my fatigue slump, I’m appreciating that fact. This week has blown by and I haven’t had a chance, but now I’m ready to start unpacking.


>phd_year(4) is my attempt to openly and honestly record my final year as a Ph.D student. I am in a position that I believe many near-grads go through – transitioning to life outside academia. However, my experiences are my own. I acknowledge that my story exists within the context of my privilege, and will do my best to not overstep the format of personal narrative.

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