Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Passing Thought On Being Alone Abroad

When I started mentioning my plans for a PhD to people, the most prevalent response was that I should go for it, since I don’t have anything, or more accurately, a significant anyone, keeping me home. But that wasn’t entirely true. I have a few significant others. My best friends, my family (most of whom live in a different town, but they don’t feel far away). Not that it was anything I considered as a factor. I knew I wanted to get out of the middle of nowhere, no matter what.

However, now that I’ve been away from home for more than two months, I’m starting to think that there might be merit in not moving away alone. I mean, sure, there’s the trouble of two people looking for work and accommodation together, which is a pretty big trouble. But the trade-off is that you aren’t so alone. Not that I mind being alone, but alone in your home country is different from alone in a new country, especially then there’s no internet access at home (as is my case). Being a tad introverted I often find it difficult to talk to people I don’t know (well). I find myself wishing I had come with someone, or had a good friend around here (which right now I do, at least for a couple of weeks, yay).

Off to try and make some new friends,

Noodle.

P.S. How cool would it be if there was a spousal hire equivalent for friends?

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Science Fiction and Scientific Minds

So, a few days ago, I had a conversation with a new friend who is also a scientist and happens to share my love/addiction to television. We talked about science fiction shows and, in particular, lack of good ones. And it made me think.

I think about science all day. Laws of nature. Will this work based on what we know? Does this make sense? How exactly does degraded material leave the body? Why does that reaction happen? Stuff like that. I love it. But after doing that for 8 or more hours, I just get tired of it. I want to forget about the limits of our reality and our knowledge. I imagine things. I like to let go and watch or read fiction – quite often it’s not science fiction, but this post mostly pertains to the latter. As my Dad (fan of hardcore science fiction) says, I just like to see what the human mind can come up with. While I appreciate when science knowledge is used and presented, you know, correctly, I’m (that’s me, not my Dad – I don’t know his exact opinion on the matter) also not bothered by stuff that is way out there. Weird new elements with fantastical properties discovered by random dudes in a random mine*. Complete surgical brain removal that doesn’t kill a person – or the brain – and then re-implantation of the said brain**. Mass spectrometry giving all the answers as though by the click of the fingers*** (OK, to be honest, this does bother me a little, but I concentrate on the cute technician and move on). Medicine (or poison) taking effect in the matter of seconds****. Or when one scientist knows everything***** (because, duh, don’t all scientists know everything there is to know? Or wish that we did at least, or is it just me?).

However, I sometimes encounter people (not necessarily scientists) who have a very low tolerance limit to these sort of liberties and disregard of the rules of the universe as we know them. And I wonder – does my, let’s call it, willingness to believe make me a bad scientist? Or, to put it in another way, does that mean I don’t really have a scientific mind? Whatever that is. Or – and this is what I like to think – does it mean that I am open to considering even the craziest possibilities and that’s actually a good thing? What is your opinion on the matter?

Wondering if I should be rethinking my career plans – not really, but also kind of yeah, though not for the above reason… or not just because of it,

Noodle.

*Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD

**Star Trek: The Original Series at its craziest

***Most crime investigation shows

****Most medical shows

*****Almost any show with a scientist character

An Update On Things Happening

I seem to recall a resolution I made not to abandon this again… and then things happened.

Namely, last semester of my Master’s studies. Fun times of:

Finishing up my research project – which included a 3-week trip to Sweden, which was nice, even though I spent pretty much all of that time at the lab.

Writing thesis – about half of which was done over the course of 3 weekends spent in a house in the countryside, with no indoor plumbing and being constantly attacked by mosquitoes, while two of my best friends brought me food – those were probably 6 most productive days of my entire life.

Being bugged by that one professor who thinks that the last few months of our degree studies is the perfect time to broaden our horizons by making pointless presentations and writing pointless papers, which would normally be totally my thing (because I love random science), had it been, you know, not the last semester of my Master’s studies.

And… sometime in that period a totally dream-come-true (or so it seemed at the time – more on that at a later date, probably) PhD gig opportunity landed on me and I just took it.

Then I spent the summer actually finishing up my research project – I was finally able to solve that last problem which had been eluding me for more than a year. It actually felt more fulfilling and exciting than getting my Master’s degree. I also studied some for an English test I had to take to prove that I know enough English to follow classes or whatever. And I took an actual vacation, most of which I spent watching movies and reading because it was too hot to go outside.

And here we are, or more accurately, here I am – back in Sweden, trying to make good use of this gap time, if you will, before I become an actual PhD student.

This has been an update post because I’m kind of rusty at this blogging thing, promising to get better, even if only for my own benefit,

Noodle.