Confessions of a frustrated PhD student


My name is Ana and I love cells. I like them so much that I decided to get a Bachelor in Science, majoring in Cell Biology and Genetics. My favorite types of cells are those of the immune system. For my Masters, I did many experiments to learn from immune cells and got to know a lot of cool people in the process. I also started sketching. The round characters I have sketched represent different types of immune cells. You can see some of these at cell cartoons. These sketches and animations are my own personal way of communicating science, which is something I want to get more involved in. I am currently doing a PhD in Immunology. However, I am having some doubts about the whole PhD thing. So, I am figuring things out as I go, but aren’t we all?
I tweet under @Cellcartoons



When people asked me what I wanted to be? I said a researcher. With time, the idea of doing “research” got more defined: I wanted to be a professor. I saw myself running my own lab doing some really interesting research, mentoring graduate students and teaching in a University. But now, I see myself as… I have no freaking idea! I don’t know what I want to do or what I want to be. The worst of all is that have no idea why the hell I am doing a PhD!

My current situation can be probably traced back to my initial decision to study Biology. I thought, and I still think, that it is really interesting how living organisms function all the way down to the individual cells. When you think about it, cells are so complex and it is amazing to know all they do even though they are so freaking small. Doing a degree in Cell Biology and Genetics was the most logical and natural choice to make. I did enjoy learning all about the wonderful whereabouts of cells and I do not regret the decision of having chosen that career path. I was also really curious about how all that knowledge regarding cells was obtained so I spent three consecutive summers as a research student. Those summers were really insightful and I was always excited about everything I was learning. Now, I find myself wondering what happened to that enthusiasm and excitement.

“The worst of all is that I have no idea why the hell I am doing a PhD”

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