An average superhero in training

Often it feels like I need some super powers to conquer the daily life of a PhD student. In my future blog posts, I will share with you my reflections on issues from my research field(s), open science, register-based research, (Swedish) academia and others. But today, I just wanted to introduce myself.

I tend to think I am just like you – a normal person without superpowers. But I think I really need the following ones:

1. Appearing in at least two places at the same time

Superhero training center (Winderströmska huset)

Currently, I am a PhD student at the Aging Research Center and Department of Public Health Sciences at Karolinska Institutet. Given the multiple departments (and five supervisors), the number of overlapping meetings, interesting presentations and other events is countless. The same is true for free-time activities.

2. Rewind time for many reasons, for example to complete multiple educational degrees

During my liberal arts bachelor’s, I studied Anthropology and Biology at Macalester College in the United States. Soon after, I hopped over to Sweden to complete multidisciplinary Masters of Science at Centre for Health Equity. And now I am a PhD student (not a superhero) examining association between education and cognitive abilities/dementia using Swedish school reforms from early 20th century.

Sounds relatively simple, right? But my anthropology training did not prepare me working with for big data and Swedish registers. Often (ehm, when I re-write my entire dataset), I catch myself thinking that a computer science degree would be a nice addition to my liberal arts training. One in literature and writing would also come in handy. Or maybe I should have majored in theater (for public speaking skills) or economics, because my project uses econometrics a bit.

3. High speed transport

My hometown – Prague

I originally come from Prague, Czech Republic. Because I studied in many different places, my friends and family (and co-workers) are spread all over the world. I really wish I could transport myself over the ocean  and back (or at least few countries) in few seconds to ask old friends and mentors for advice. Or just go to eat in my favorite places.

But since I do not have any of these, I keep on biking around Stockholm at my normal speed, trying my best to put the pieces from different fields together, accepting average level (or below) in each. And bribe experts for advice, with help of chocolate cookies or some other baked goods, because baking is one of my favourite leisure time activities. To complement eating sweets, I spent quite a bit of time playing volleyball. And every now and then wander off to Fotografiska or some other art museum. And when all else fails, I retire from my superhero training and other hobbies. Instead of trying to be in two places, I turn off my phone, close my computer and go hiking.

At the end of the day, I think my only true superpower is filling up my time. I doubt you are in need of that one, but I believe in sharing (sharing is caring) – so do contact me for superpowers exchange, or with any other questions.


Disclosure: There are apparently loads of superhero vibes going on. Just yesterday, Jack Grove published a piece titled Are you an ‘academic superhero’?, which I have discovered after writing this post. Do check it out! 

One thought on “An average superhero in training

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s