Hello and welcome!
Recently, my PhD supervisor commented that my writing style for a review article was rather romantic. I appreciated her description and took it as a compliment that my style stood out amongst the others. Even so, I understood that my deemed romanticism, although allowing for an easy read, was to be toned down because scientific writing is expected to be fact-based and objective. This critique of my article set my thoughts in a rather confused direction.
Was I too much a romantic to be involved in scientific research? Perhaps I am more suited to science communication to the layman instead of dealing with research at the forefront? I began questioning my scientific aptitude, and this uncertainty was further fueled by the difficulty I was feeling to find direction in the new field I had just entered. On top of that, the research group morale had recently been shaken up a bit by a fellow PhD student’s decision to quit in order to pursue a more money-motivated career. There seemed to be an ever increasing number of conversations by colleagues that reinforced the view of the scientific world as cold and harsh, and perhaps too monotone for a gentle and sentimental soul like mine.
So feeling overwhelmingly like a misfit, one afternoon I burst into tears during a bathroom break at the office. I had always believed that science was my forte in life but right then and there, I felt lost. I got my phone out and messaged my some friends on Facebook Messenger and then my parents on WeChat. At times of uncertainty, I always reach out to my friends and family for support and I’m always grateful for their belief in me. Their love inspires and motivates me to keep on challenging myself to obtain my goals. So in that moment, I needed them and they were there.
On the bus ride home from the lab in the evening, I continued to ponder on my personal relationship with science and it occurred to me that I was not wrong to be emotional about my present DPhil experience; if I felt nothing then I might as well be on par with a robot.
Right then, looking philosophically out the bus window, I decided two things- that I can be a romantic and a scientist at the same time AND that I should start a blog to unveil the human side of science. Yes! This way, I could introspect on my personal experience as a DPhil student whilst also bringing to light that scientists are humans with emotions attached to their work, and as tumultuous as these emotions may be on a day to day basis, these are all part of the scientific method. In the spaces between words of publications, there are hidden stories of sadness and joy of the journey to discovery.
So in this blog, I want to highlight the human experience of being a scientist. If you are a fellow scientist reading this, I hope that you can relate. If you are passionate about science and thinking of choosing this as a career path, I hope that this blog can give you a little insight into being an emotional scientist 🙂
I have several ideas for the next few blog posts and I’m very excited about this project! I’m also welcoming guest posts and am looking forward to also adding interview sections.
Thank you for reading this very first blog post!
( P.S. I did a brief search on Google to see the results that came up when I typed keywords emotions and scientists and found this article in the Guardian :’ Scientists and their emotions..the highs and lows’. It’s pretty relevant to the theme of this blog!)