If this week could be summed up in one word, it would be “professionalization”! Let’s review this last week of 2018.
Of course, it began with Christmas! But I’m in Asia, so I just cooked some food for three people, we ate, we drank white wine, and that’s all! It’s just a day like the other one, and on the 25th, I just went to the lab to keep working… Nothing special! I have a kind of contradictory feeling right now. I find it strange that I don’t find this way to celebrate Christmas strange. I mean, as a European, I’m used to have the whole December to get physically and mentally prepared for this very evening, with all the excitation and lots of stuff to prepare. Last year I had my family with me, so Christmas has been celebrated in a way, with all this mental preparation. But this year has been so different, I’ve been so busy with my dissertation and experiments these months that it’s like we directly jumped from October to Decembar 24! I thought I should feel like a little weirdy not to celebrate Christmas as it should be (and as it has been done for more than 20 years), but nothing. But that’s ok, I just find it interesting in a way!
Nothing special for Christmas, but this week has been nothing but unspecial. I just finished writing the summary of the third chapter of the book I’m reviewing. I remember when in October I had to spend a whole week to sum up one chapter, spending my whole time on it. And this week, I read two chapters and summed them up, with a lot of fun! I don’t know if I improved, let’s say I improved. All the hard work is paying back, and let’s call it the Chrismas present I send to myself! It’s so delightful to see that something good is being built.
Professionalization. Not only I wrote summaries of two chapters, but I also attended two workshops in a raw. One was about safety issues when you’re running an fMRI experiment (yeah, the big machine with a hole to scan people’s brain). I didn’t learn a lot, but it’s always good to be refreshed when it comes with safety issues. The second workshop was in a very different style. It lasted a whole day, from early morning to the evening, learning how to analyze data from people’s brain! It’s not as easy as printing the scan, pointing a random area and tell: “It’s here!” You have like a lot of data, even for just only one person, you have to clean the scans up, to readjust them, to make finer analysis and to prepare them. Once the data from one person is prepared, you have to create a model for this data. This step sounds easy, but it requires a lot of attention and patience… And the last step is to average the data from all the participants to a unique model, and you got the activation of a specific brain area for a specific task! This workshop was intense, and we all got lost a several times. But I learnt so much, it was really cool. Now I can’t wait to play with my own fMRI data to discover new things related to my PhD dissertation! I heard that I could begin the next month, is there any better way to welcome 2019?
Last surprise! I attended weeks (or months?) ago another workshop, whose title was about the visibility of PhD students and researchers on the web, or something like that. It has been shown how important, if not crucial, it is now to increase one’s visibility when we’re doing research. It is logical in a way, if you stay alone in a lab, you get results but you don’t share them (or maybe once in a semester, during a 20-minute presentation to people who may get lost, because you’re only one out of more than one hundred people presenting his results), who knows what you are doing? If you share them, not only you can show to the world that you’re doing the work, but you can get feedbacks and propositions to make further research. You got it, I got convinced by them. This is how, at the end of the workshop, I dedided to create my own professional website! I wanted to design something on my own, so that this website would not be something randomly designed in 5 minutes. It was a way for me to really think about what I wanted to write as content, and what I really wanted it to look like. I also set the end of 2018 as a deadline to finish it, and I finished it!
Let’s welcome my professional website! You want to see it? Just click here!
I’m really happy of it! I just need to add one thing to complete it: a professional profile picture. I don’t know when I’m gonna have it, maybe when I go to the conference in the US? Let’s not burn the steps, I still don’t have any reply from them, but it seems to be normal. Wait and see!