I’ll write more than a couple of sentences for this one.
There’s a few reasons why I decided to start this blog.
Creating a profile. I’m at a point in my career where I have to start seriously considering my future and a good place to start is developing a profile for myself. I’ve looked at starting a website but the content would only consist of one paper at this stage! So having this blog is a way for me to have some content for people to geez at. Over time it will also have some better content on my experiences as a PhD student.
Communicating science. It’s also a forum for me to communicate my science. Being able to effectively communicate your research is becoming more and more important. Not only because research jobs in Australia are limited and being an effective scientific communicator can create more opportunities but because we live in a time where there’s a disconnect between the general public and the scientific community. Somewhere along the way we failed in our ability to effectively educate the general public about our research. This is most evident in the strong resistance to climate change research. I think that we should all strive to communicate our research to the wider community, ’cause it’s interesting AF! The key is learning to communicate the interesting points without jargon and excessive detail. So i’m here to attempt to do that.
PhD experience. So on top of developing my skills as a scientific communicator this is a forum for me to share my PhD experience and provide a platform for friends and family to get an understanding of what I do. I don’t really talk about what I do with my friends and family and i’m actually very bad at informing them about what it is I actually do. I put this down to the fact that I think i’m boring people when I talk about it and also their reactions when I do actually talk about. It’s common for people to start losing interest halfway through me talking about something work related. This is either because they were being kind when asking about my research, and not expending a decent answer, or because I get side tracked with details I think are important and use too much jargon (e.g. calling seaweed algae and confusing the shit out of people). The latter is probably more accurate, so if I can change that through this blog that’s a thumbs up for me. Maybe after reading my “What” post some of them might even have a few questions at the pub? … Guys?
Anyway, explaining my research in a way that keeps peoples attention and gets the point across is a major goal of having this blog over the next 18 months or so. But there’s more! I also believe that the experience of a PhD student is an interesting (others may not think so…. yet!) and complicated one that most people are unaware of. Because we don’t post a continuous flow of pictures of us struggling through R (statistical analysis program) or sitting with our head on the desk because we haven’t written more than a sentence in two days, it can be assumed that we live our lives like we’re in a documentary, cruising around on boats with GoPro’s filming fish in beautiful places (purely based on my research).
Although it may be true that we do visit beautiful places, that is not how we spend the majority of our time. Don’t get me wrong I (and most people in my position) absolutely love what I do, but PhDs are not easy and place a lot of stress on the people doing them. The path of a postgraduate researcher is an interesting one consisting of a whole range of different experiences, and I hope to be able to communicate them to you as best as possible!