Hello there bloggies! It’s time for Trainee Tuesday.

The last few weeks my inbox, facebook feed, and twitter have been filled with former classmates of mine defending their theses and getting set for graduation. I can’t believe it has almost been a year since I was in their shoes giving my thesis seminar and graduating with my PhD.

After my PhD defense last April, there was a bit of an awkward “in-between” time of about 2-3 months before I started my new postdoc position. There were definitely some things I think I did right, and some things I wish I did differently:

-I worked in my old the next month or so trying to leave each project of mine in a good place. I wanted to make sure whoever was coming into the lab to pick up these projects and be able to start running with them. Coming into a new lab is hard enough. I didn’t want to leave things in a mess (and I was hoping people in my new lab were doing the same).

-In that same vein, I made sure I submitted any remaining papers before I left the lab. I made sure I wrapped up any last minute analyses for these papers and submitted them (for the most part). I didn’t want to rely on others searching my old files and sending them to me. Plus, once you leave a lab, your memory starts to fade and writing on the project gets more and more difficult.

-This next point I did both right and wrong: taking time off. I made sure that there was a bit of time between leaving my old lab and officially starting at my new lab. I went on a quick trip with friends  to Disney lol and had some time with family. But, I don’t think I gave myself enough time off. Finishing up a PhD is frustrating, difficult, and draining as hell. You need some time to recuperate and recharge your batteries before diving head first into your postdoc. I needed to have taken more time for myself.

-I also didn’t take the time before joining my new lab to adequately prepare for my new job. I needed to read more papers, survey the scientific landscape, and focus what I wanted to do as a postdoc. I was wholly unprepared to jump right into the science of my new lab. It made me unfocused and unproductive. I honestly just felt lost for months.

-Now, this last bullet point I think is the most important. I made sure to have proper goodbyes and send-offs with my labmates, classmates, lab neighbors, and collaborators. These people were so important to my successful completion of my PhD. I wanted to think them and get a real goodbye. Not only that, I went to my graduation and made sure to celebrate it. I worked my ass off for 5 years, and I was going to freaking enjoy it for at least a few days!!

Thank you all for stopping by! What things did you do after getting your PhD or do you plan to do? Comment below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.

See you all later!

-Dr. F

Advertisements