Category Archives: PhD Life

Catch the moment – Networking at a conference

I guess many young scientists know that feeling: They collected their first useful data in the lab and are finally allowed to go to their first big conference in their field.   But what is going to conferences all about? You must spend a lot of money in advance, you have to arrange your travels by yourself, you spend much time on preparing your data … Continue reading Catch the moment – Networking at a conference »

Are you a typical PhD student?

Have you ever doubted your decision to pursue a PhD? We’ve found that most PhD students we’ve talked to, at one point or another, experience uncertainty of some kind. Have you ever doubted whether you correspond to what a “typical PhD student” is supposed be? Because we know that life as a graduate student can at times be chaotic and taxing, we’ve set out to … Continue reading Are you a typical PhD student? »

How afraid are you of your supervisor?

A dry mouth, excessive sweating, aphasia – hopefully that is not what you experience when you need to talk to your PI. For some, however, the benign stress response ahead of meetings that you may be familiar with turns into an unbearable condition. Recently, Dr. Diamandis, professor at the University of Toronto, addressed what he recognized as a “growing phobia” in a Nature article sparking … Continue reading How afraid are you of your supervisor? »

Time to become a PhD – Time to fasten up becoming a PhD

In our last article I wondered how long it takes for students at our faculty to finally get their PhD after having submitted their thesis. Surveys among alumni (n=32) showed that this final step takes about five months. 70% of the former PhD students were not satisfied with how long it took from handing in their thesis until their defense could take place. This time … Continue reading Time to become a PhD – Time to fasten up becoming a PhD »

Time to become a PhD – The dream of graduating soon

Imagine, years have passed and you reach the far away goal of your dreams: You have written up your PhD thesis and are ready to hand in! And, almost equally satisfying, you are ready to smile back at those people’s faces who have been driving you crazy the years by asking “When will you be finished?“. After such a long time you can finally answer … Continue reading Time to become a PhD – The dream of graduating soon »

Farmer, musician, athlete, and more – Stress relieving activities of our lab workers

Our daily lives are full of pipetting, operating complex machines, reading scientific literature, preparing talks, posters, and manuscripts. As recently pointed out, this makes many of us “stressed like a PhD student” , a group of individuals, who are among the most stressed occupational group. So, it’s pretty obvious that PhD students come up with certain techniques to combat the constant pressure. In order to … Continue reading Farmer, musician, athlete, and more – Stress relieving activities of our lab workers »

LA LA LAB – From bench to couch: Cinema meets science

As PhD students, we have learned to educate ourselves: read articles, talk with other scientists, find our own answers to our scientific questions. Sometimes it is hard to keep on going, to always be updated, motivated, and strong. We all have those days when you wake up in the morning and think: “Please bed, hold me tight and do not let me go!!!” Sometimes we … Continue reading LA LA LAB – From bench to couch: Cinema meets science »

Welcome to the jungle – a short bureaucracy guide for new international PhD students in Bonn

Bureaucracy – sounds painful? Bureaucracy in Germany – even more painful? Bureaucracy in Germany when you don’t know German – aw, that really hurts! Almost three years ago when I came to Germany, the amount of documents written in a mysterious code made of weird clumps of letters stuck together in an endless row made me learn the word Enttäuschung (German for disappointment and frustration). … Continue reading Welcome to the jungle – a short bureaucracy guide for new international PhD students in Bonn »

Travelling in the name of science

When I was asked to write a little report about the experiences I had made at the International Congress of Immunology I didn’t just want to write one of these travel reports containing the typical pictures of museums and skyscrapers. Instead, I want to tell you about the scientific way of travelling. During my bachelor studies at the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg I already … Continue reading Travelling in the name of science »

How to maximally piss off a PhD student in five words

It’s hilarious how a little innocent question is able to make PhD students all around the globe[1] feel miserable, feel hate for the inquirer, for his or her supervisor and/or for the world in general. I would assume that, by now, everyone is aware of the reflexes that it is causing, no matter if it is being asked by acquaintances, colleagues, friends or family. Obviously … Continue reading How to maximally piss off a PhD student in five words »