Hello, this is Sofia calling in from Huddinge campus and Life after the defense. I’m a new voice at this blog and I hope we’ll talk often.
In my posts, I’ll talk to you about how life was as a PhD student, and how life is now, as an actual PhD. I’ll share my thoughts on the future, on applications and projects and decisions that you think will affect your life ever after but maybe they are not as crucial as that. And of course on exiting science, sometimes even my own. But as you may well know, results come slowly so in the mean time I’ll let you know about other interesting stuff I stumble upon.
But for this first post, let’s stumble upon me. I have done my PhD at the Laboratory Medicine Department, studying vectors for nonviral gene therapy. In May, I defended my thesis. It’s about nonviral vectors for gene therapy and what happens if you make them really small. Before becoming a PhD student, I did a Master of Science in Molecular Biotechnology in Uppsala. Good times, it is a very nice city to be student in. In one of our final courses, we had a captivating lecture on Gene Therapy. The lecturer was from KI, and he was stupid enough, or smart enough, to write his contact info on the handouts. So when time came for choosing a master thesis project, I contacted him and he became my project supervisor. After having finished my MSc, I refused to go away and eventually I was registered as a PhD student. As you see, persistence is one of my virtues (or is it a vice?) and thus you may all call me Doctor Sofia, thank you very much.
I am born and bred in Stockholm, Sweden, so (until I go to live abroad, if I ever get to do that) I will not write much about funny anecdotes on the cultural clashes that arise from living in a foreign country, except giving you this one piece of advice: It is fine to complain about the darkness and the horrible weather in winter. Go ahead; rant away, any Swede will gladly join you. But come summer, do not, ever, complain about the light. If you can’t sleep because the sun rises at four in the morning, close your curtains, remember November and shut up. In the world’s most secular country, the summer light is holy and to slander it is high treason.
When I’m not doing science, I do other things. I am a firm believer in having a life outside the lab. This is probably easier for me who grew up here and thus I already have a whole life going on outside my studies. I would guess that coming alone from another country, or even city, it is easier to lose yourself in your work. When I don’t do academic work, I sail – or work on, depending on season – the sailing boat I own with my sister and her fiancé. I do volunteer work at a shelter for so called EU immigrants some nights a month. And I have black belt in ju-jutsu. Again the persistence thing.
Currently, I am wrapping up those projects that were manuscripts or not even that in my thesis, and in the mean time I am thinking about life after the Defense. And that is a topic for a whole new blog post. By for now.