My name is Yildiz, and I embarked on a journey towards a PhD degree in Medical Science at the Karolinska Institute in 2014. Now I am somewhere in the middle of this rocky, bumpy, slippery road, hoping there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. Sounds horrifying to the newly admitted, and like a walk in the park to those who crossed the finish line. Some people call it the 2nd-year blues. While listening to podcasts at 9 PM in the lab, you stop pipetting for a moment and ask, “why was I doing this again?”
I do it for fun. I do it because I wonder.
I grew up in a small sunny town in the south of Turkey. There was a stream meeting with the Mediterranean Sea right next to our house. On Sundays, my father used to wake up at dawn to go fishing and I would be his tail out of curiosity. While he waited patiently for tiny tensions created by the captured fish, I was unable to stand still for two consecutive minutes. Instead, I would wander by the shore to collect seashells and play with whatever living thing was around at that hour. Naturally, I made some accidental (re)discoveries during these visits. To list a few:
- Stones don’t know how to swim.
- Bubbly boxes do.
- If you carefully listen to seashells, you can hear the sea humming.
- Snails melt if you put salt on them! (Don’t try this at home!)
I am not proud of the last one these days but in my defence, it was before my mother gave my first basic ethics lesson: You must treat other living beings gently.
At the end of the day, we would come home holding the pearls of our enthusiasm: My father with a box full of fish, I with seashells of every color and shape along with short reports of my experiments to be discussed around the dinner table. My favorite part of the day has always been the part I get to share experiences with other people.
So here I am to share this journey with you. (:
Let me update you on the first half:
- Central nervous system nerves do not regenerate in response to an injury.
- Peripheral nerves do.
- If we carefully look at the injured brain and spinal cord, we can see that scar tissue represents a red light for injured nerves. Understanding the scar dynamics might give us the power to switch that to green.
- PhD students melt if you offer them some fika! (Please try this at home!)
Flight number KI101 to PhD, boarding completed.