My First Blog Post

So having read some of the many blogs RE the PhD journey, I figured I could do my own in a way I haven’t yet come across. A thorough account of the journey from the very start to the very end (If I make it). As evident this blog is very much in its infancy and I am still learning how to use this site and all the various sub menus and bullshit that goes with it. I think a podcast would suit me more but this has the added bonus of getting me writing more frequently then I currently do.
With that in mind I guess Id better introduce myself. I answer to the name Lewis and I am beginning my PhD in chemistry at York. I speak Italian (ish) and Spanish (ish) and when not reading about Phil Baran’s latest total synthesis or Christina White’s CH activation tour de force I enjoy playing guitar and shooting.
I graduated from Salford Uni and credit the team there for simply superb mentor ship during my undergrad. Lab 307 will never be the same again.
I intend to upload a new blog post once a week with nothing held back. Essentially a diary detailing my ups and downs to come. If (when) I brake that expensive piece of equipment and if (when) I look like a colossal retard in front of the guys there I’ll own up and post it on here… probably in tears.
All comments and questions are welcomed and I will endeavor to address them in follow up posts.
This blog will be very much organic chemistry based but I’m sure some of it will apply to most science PhD students. Certainly my first few posts of getting started and settling in. New uni, new city new people ect ect.
The first day begins tomorrow with various induction and welcome lectures etc and honestly with all the safety forms these days who knows what date I will actually be able to begin lab work. I am excited and nervous about this week. The biggest thing playing on my mind is that all to common ” am I good enough though?”. It’s easy to advise people not to think like that and not to worry but the reality is more complex and to switch off those avenues of thought is a tricky task. On top of this there are a host of other small thoughts going on at any given time “Is my desk sorted?” “will I have a computer or do I have to wait” “How often am I going to get lost?”, “will my pay go through ok or will I be skint until admin sorts it”, “Where do I get my ID card from”, “Do I get a new lab coat”, “Does the postgrad room have a fridge”, “… a kettle?”, “why have I not won the lottery yet?” and the thoughts go on and on and on.
Indeed the only question I can answer is why am I doing a PhD at all? In 2016 a PhD is essentially an incredible amount of effort and investment, with long hours and only  crushing pressure and stress for comfort topped off with fuck all pay.
The answer… research. During my undergrad I took up a 12 month placement opportunity in org chem research initially just as a CV boost. But 12 months of it and going to a handful of conferences it all becomes far too agreeable. I even managed to get a cute little publication out of it for some of the work I did. And after it dawned on me that even when everything is going tits up (and indeed it often is)  research is strangely addictive and I’m not quite ready to walk away from it yet. Maybe during my PhD I will have had enough and gimp out early, maybe I will get to the end and walk away or maybe I will still be hurting for that rush one can only get when looking at an NMR to see you’ve actually got what you wanted. There is nothing more crushing then doing a 48 hour reaction followed by a horrible work up and an anaconda sized column eating up several racks of test tubes and several hours of the day to see an NMR revealing shit, more shit and some weird shit coupled with a beautifully clean ethyl acetate peak and a mile long acetone peak because some cunts contaminated the CDCl3 (AGAIN!)
That’s all for now folks and hopefully I’ll be back again next week with some insight into the first few days and what I expected vs the reality. In truth I don’t know what to expect so should make for an interesting follow up post.
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @LewisMGooch


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