Part Time Biologist Full Time Ninja
Biologist & Ninja. Currently working as a research assistant but in my mind I'm already in grad school. Addicted to tv series, dogs, caffeine and the smell of freshly sterilized agar!

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I found this in a drawer at my desk in the lab… are you fuckin serious, Sigma?

Come on Sigma… I want one, too!



A reader once asked me why there were so many couples in academic departments and why so many of them met in graduate school. MOTL and I met as PhD students in Political Science and while we are not in the same academic department - he has (smartly) moved on to have a ‘real-world’ job and I am now a postdoc - I can perhaps speak to why this is the case. In my program alone, I count no less than seven married couples who met during the PhD program. Lots of these couples now have children, who I dub “poli sci babies.”

It could be because most people who start graduate school are in their twenties and thirties, which is the time most people start thinking about settling down. It could also be because graduate school, unlike, say, your undergraduate studies or even your work place, fosters intense closeness and camaraderie. As a cohort, you are brought together because of the demands of your program. You spend time studying for your core classes together, writing together, bouncing ideas off of each other. You bond over the difficulties of all of the milestones you’d have to meet - from passing your classes, to getting ABD status, to getting ethics approval, to the interminable writing process. In a sense, then, those in graduate school bond together because everyone becomes survivors. It is hard for outsiders to know what graduate school is like, to know what academia is like, to know the soul-crushing defeat that you feel when your supervisor rejects your draft and when you realize that you are ensnared in a fucked- up power structure where you find that your agency is repeatedly compromised. 

Of course, it could also be that those who gravitate towards your graduate school program share the same interests, passions, and dreams. Let’s face it. You’d have to be a pretty big dork to contemplate devoting years of your life in a PhD program. While the rest of your peers who opted out of graduate school are becoming adults, you are still ensnared in an endless cycle of writing and rewriting, researching and editing, with nary a paycheque in sight. (Teaching assistantship stipends barely count). And we do all of this for a love of knowledge. We keep at it because there are questions that inspire us and that get us up in the morning. So it makes sense that your chosen partner is someone who understands this world.  

As our lives have evolved beyond graduate school, though, I am struck with just how much the attributes MOTL had back then still define him today. Years after we first started dating, MOTL and I still keep talking about our ideas, namely our commitment to community-engaged research, our belief that there are ways to transcend institutional constraints (and harmful conservative ideologies!) to shape policy, our love for politics. Likewise, friends who met in graduate school in other fields like English literature and History tell me that, aside from similarities in values and beliefs, the core of their relationship is still based on their mutual love for their fields. All of this isn’t to say that you can’t find people who share the same interests outside your field but that the chances are likely that those who you meet in your program in graduate school share the same interests.

And really, isn’t that what lasting relationships are about? MOTL and I still have so many things to talk to each other about, even five years later. Then and now, I love MOTL for his compassion and kindness and how he will do absolutely anything - even at the cost of inconveniencing himself - for his friends. Most of all, though, I love that he is as geekily excited about esoteric political matters as I am. I have yet to meet anyone who considers political communication strategies and electoral riding breakdowns as pillow talk! And though I like to think that, had we not gone into graduate school, we’d end up meeting eventually, I honestly think grad school heightened the odds that we would.

On a final note, I love you MOTL! Five years down, decades and decades more to go.


relationship status: slept with laundry I was too lazy to fold


Here are some tips and tricks about issues you may have with DNA in the lab.
Provided by Life Technologies (@LIFECorporation on Twitter).
Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time. Jorge Luis Borges, The Threatened One (via chelf)

(Source: fables-of-the-reconstruction)


Serial dilutions of CuSO4, made as part of an AP chemistry lab experiment. The simple beauty of a colorful solution can make a mundane lesson interesting and plant the seed of a lifelong interest in science.
Submitted by Claire Liu (submit your photo here)

PHinisheD! 10 Dissertation Writing Tips
Dissertations - the dreaded word we hear during Uni, but push it to the back of our minds, convinced it’ll never happen: until third year rolls around and catches us off-guard. It’s probably the biggest piece of work you’ve ever faced in your education, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the hardest. Here are 10 tips to hopefully ease those dissertation blues.
1. The Rule of 8
This golden tip was given to me by friends of mine who have already graduated. To ensure you get enough work, sleep and other activities done in a 24 hour period, break your day down into 8 hour periods. Get 8 hours sleep, set aside 8 hours in your day to write and research, which means you can justify 8 hours of food shopping, socialising and procrastination.
2. Structure
Set yourself a plan for what you are going to write where in your dissertation; where each paragraph will come, and what the content of each paragraph will be. This means you can dip in and out of various subject matters if you get too bogged down.
3. PEE all over your work!
No, not literally. PEE stands for “Point, Evidence, Explain”. It’s a writing technique that was taught to me by my year 9 English teacher, and it changed my writing style forever. Whenever you make a POINT in your dissertation, make sure you back it up with EVIDENCE, and EXPLAIN why that point is relevant to your study.
4. Talk to your personal tutor
That’s their job - to help you! They can help refine your ideas, give you suggestions on which journals to cite, and even critically analyse any draft you have done.
5. Give it to someone outside the subject matter
I find giving essays I’ve written to my dad for proofreading works wonders! He doesn’t know anything about Marketing or Business Ethics - if HE can understand my essay, anyone can! Use your housemates to get an outside perspective that doesn’t end in “oh, well I wrote this…….”
6. Set small goals
Set yourself a mini deadline to help ease the load. “Today I’m going to write 1,000 words” or “I’m going to finish this paragraph before I can go to McDonald’s” should work. Incentive is your friend.
7. Don’t burn yourself out
The optimum time to write continuously and still produce high quality stuff is 45 minutes. At the end of this time, step away from the computer screen and make yourself a cup of tea. Your eyes and brain will thank you for it!
8. Do something dissertation-related every day
Your deadline may be months away, but that doesn’t mean you should put it off until the last minute. Whether it’s content writing, research, or even adapting your plan or structure, it will make the final panic process a little easier knowing you’ve done SOMETHING.
9. Don’t Panic!
Keep a level head and don’t lose it - that’s just what the dissertation wants! Show it what you’re made of and finish it!
10. PARTY!
Once you’ve written, finalised, bound and submitted your dissertation - let off all that steam! You’ve earned it!
Written by Julia Warnes
Read more on the Accommodation For Students website. 


most private thing im willing to admit: im not good at estimating how much pasta is enough for one person 


Dope. I’d wear these.






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