Reflection and Giving Thanks.

It’s the time of year when we start to give thanks and reflect on what we’ve accomplished in the past year. We gather around our food-filled tables among family and friends, and express our gratitude for having each other in our lives. So, in keeping with this trend, I’d like to share a few things I’m thankful for in my second year of graduate school.


While this is a completely unoriginal thing to be thankful for, it has been—and continues to be—a vital part of my surviving grad school. Though my family members do not have scientific backgrounds, they insist on updates on my research, and always have a laundry list of questions to ask about my project! They offer unconditional emotional support from afar, and can always put me in a better mood and give perspective.

My family includes more than just blood relatives—all of my colleagues at school are a part of my academic family. Like brothers and sisters, we’re all going through the same trials and tribulations that come with grad school. We’ve all had to suffer through mind-bending biometry courses, face our fears of public speaking in professional seminar, and pretend we know what we’re talking about when teaching introductory biology to undergraduate students. These experiences unite us and provide solace, making us stronger individuals as part of a larger body of professionals. I can’t properly express gratitude for having such an amazing cohort of individuals to call my colleagues and friends, as without them grad school would not be the same.


Having friends both in and out of graduate school has been vital to keeping my sanity, as they provide outside perspective and advice (and often just conversation that doesn’t end up veering to a science-y topic). My friends in graduate school at other universities can relate their experiences to mine, and offer advice on what they wish they’d done differently. Friends that are out of graduate school and in the workforce are likened to the light at the end of the tunnel, showing me the possibilities for paths after receiving a degree. Moreover, my friends remind me—despite my stress and common feelings of impostor syndrome—that what I’m doing is an amazing feat, and something to be extremely proud of.

Recently, actually, I was out to drinks with an old friend who, after hearing about my current anxieties and worries, exclaimed how proud she was of where I ended up, and how she wished I could reflect and see myself as she did. It may seem like a narcissistic act, but reflecting on my accomplishments has helped me appreciate how I’ve grown from a kid romping around tidepools to a scientist asking (and attempting to answer!) questions about the system as a whole.

A few smaller (but mightily important) things I’m thankful for:

Kiki, my housemate’s cat, for greeting me at the end of a long day and being my stress relief and receiving many tough-love petting sessions.

Netflix, for providing shows and movies for when I need to give my brain a break from thinking about science.

Food, whether it be late night Pho or Ramen, or a glorious home-cooked meal, for giving me energy to get the work done.

Diving, for I am happiest when underwater, surrounded by the creatures and mysteries that propelled me to pursue this field in the first place.

As you eagerly await Shannon’s annual gift giving guide (see last year’s for additional ideas), take a moment to reflect on what it is you’re thankful for, take pride in all you’ve accomplished, and surround yourself with the people and things that bring you joy.

This entry was posted in Blog Posts, Featured.
Bookmark the permalink.
Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>