The people behind the science

by Bianca Rijkmans

Patience. That is what the past couple of months have been teaching me. Patience. Waiting over 6 weeks for equipment to arrive in order to start your experiments for your thesis tends to do that, I think.

In the meantime, I have thrown myself into learning as much as I can with the research group my project falls under. They are the best bunch of people, all interesting and unique and kind and helpful. I got a teeny taste of what it is like working as a team sorting through old patient files and documenting certain details on a group spreadsheet, and enjoyed celebrating with everyone once the task was finished. We had a debrief session after this period of working through some pretty heavy and hectic patient files (mostly dealing with motor vehicle accident traumatic brain injuries) and it was a safe space to process the emotions of reading through the files over the past couple of weeks. I learnt about everyone’s different hobbies outside of the research space; they range from yoga, to dungeons and dragons, to sewing and baking. We talked about work-life balance, and coping mechanisms, and celebrated the birth of the baby boy of one of the researchers in the team. I think what I love most about science at the moment is the people, and how they can shape your experience of working in a lab. Interacting and getting to know different researchers and their stories has been the best thing, and I know that in whatever direction I take my studies, people will be a part of that story. I think this is really special and something to be treasured, along with scientific progress and academic accomplishments and all that. Isn’t there a saying that rather than what you did or said, people remember how you made them feel? Well so far I have felt very welcomed and encouraged working with this wonderful group of people, who also happen to be spectacular scientists I can look up to and be inspired by.

Okay, back to waiting for the equipment to arrive and stressing about my project…

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