Year One Celebration

Photo credit: Steve Buchmann (http://stephenbuchmann.com/)
Photo credit: Steve Buchmann (http://stephenbuchmann.com/)

Year one of my PhD program is officially over and, with the advent of the fall semester, I would like to celebrate the things that I’ve achieved in just one year. In some ways, this blog has functioned as my ‘praise journal’ – the technique I wrote about in this blog post about overcoming impostor syndrome. This past year has been very hard – a PhD is about growing as a scientist, which (it turns out) means more than just learning science; it means learning to think and work differently. This growing process is hard – my perfectionism, anxiety, and workaholism have been dangerous company to keep as my PhD has progressed. But each graduate student has their own areas of personal growth where they will be challenged during their graduate career.

This past year I’ve accomplished the following scientific things:

  1. Taken six classes, and many online workshops
  2. Taught two classes
  3. Gathered brain data on over 160 specimen and counting, including spiders, ants, termites, and wasps – and helped finish three full projects for my lab, one of which is already published
  4. Gathered microbial community data for another lab that will result in an eventual publication for them
  5. Started working on an additional four projects for my lab, with exciting results incoming!
  6. Made a poster on ant pesticides with my STAR mentee!
  7. Began developing a pretty fantastic thesis proposal, if I do say so myself #justbeethings
  8. Co-author on my first published paper (this one was big enough that it deserved to be mentioned twice)
  9. Presented at two scientific conferences
  10. Received two travel awards
  11. Attended the Bee Course, 2017!
  12. Mentored over 400 student hours between six different undergraduate students
  13. Was the only Biology student to win the College of the Arts and Sciences TA Excellence Award
  14. Elected to several biology leadership roles and accepted for science outreach positions
  15. Had my #scicomm accepted for publication at Buzz Hoot Roar, The Female Scientist, and more

All in all, it was a scientifically successful first year, all while I dealt with a lot of personal adjustments and challenges. What started out slow and scary, has built to something incredible – it’s easy to see, when it’s all in one list, how much there is to be proud of from this first twelve months of my journey. Here’s to many, but not too many, more!

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