Sunday, July 20, 2014

Becoming a 10yrs old scientist

Today I celebrate exactly 10 years since I got my MS Degree in Geological Sciences. It was a hot day in Padova, the 20th July 2004. Magna cum laude. A few friends, mostly musicians, attended my defence and sang the famous (in Padova) "dottore, dottore...". "dottore, dottore...". After a nice journey to Norway, in a few months I was back at the university... for a PhD position. Ten years have already gone. Although I'm a bit disappointed by the research world and I've opposite feelings about leaving or staying in this field, I will celebrate this important anniversary by listing 5 good and 5 bad things of being scientist.

1. You learn something new every day.
2. You travel a lot (if you get funded), meeting other scientists with the very same problems as you, but perhaps with the solutions you were looking for.
3. You learn to speak a kind of international English, helped by words similar to those in your own language and an universal gesture (if mediterranean), and you learn to understand the same international English spoken with any possible accent.
4. You have good friends that are also your colleagues. You share with them success, party time, frustration, food, beer,... a lot of beer.
5. You can feel young as long as you wish, wearing teen clothes even when you have lunch in fancy restaurants with important guests, exaggerating your reactions: getting excited for a good result and upset for a criticism.

1. You feel that you'll never know enough of what you are studying. You never feel completely confident in what you do or say.
2. You change so often the bed where you sleep that you don't know anymore where's your home. In addition a permanent position is a dream and every two-three years you have to face a new start somewhere in the world, learning a new language and dealing with a different culture and its bureaucracy.
3. You cannot speak proper English. Native speakers will always have fun of you.
4. Your colleagues become also your friends and sometimes even your family. It's hard to have social life outside the science world, especially if you don't speak the local language and you don't have hobbies.
5. You never become adult. You never have time for your house, which is a temporary accommodation anyway. You end up eating at random time in front of your computer or performing measurements and experiments (wait, never eat in the lab!!!).

Happy scientist-birthday!

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