Dammit, Jim…

Actually, I can’t finish that line, yet. But, give me three and a half years, and I should be able to.

It’s Thursday.
Last Saturday, I packed my clothes, some flat-packed shelving units, and my computer into my little car, and moved from sunny Livingston to windy Thurso. Upon arrival I met my friendly Dutch housemate, unpacked the car, then went and treated my self to one of the nicest fish suppers I’ve had in a while.
On Sunday, I finished unpacking and rearranging furniture, went out and bought a picture frame, and I realised how much I miss my wife at night.
On Monday, I started my PhD. And it’s Awesome!
It’s so Awesome, it deserves it’s very own capital ‘A’.

The start of the week was filled with inductions and meeting people. I even remember about four of their names, which is really good for me. Outside of that, I’ve been doing work. Work for now-and most of the next three months-involves reading, note taking, with a bit of writing. Mostly the reading. I love it. I enjoyed university because I was learning new things, and now I have three years where my main goal is to become an expert on a subject.

Quite a trek to get here

Five years ago I was jumping around in the dark wearing make-up and scary wigs. Then, I was fortunate enough to discover that I actually could afford to go back to Uni. I find it a wonderful irony that while I studied around zoology and ecology, I’ve ended up becoming a microbiologist. It’s wonderful because I always thoroughly enjoyed the microbiology stuff at uni and, for a short while, I considered pursuing that route. But at the end of the day the bigger animals are more cooler, cuddlier, and have big, sharp, pointy teeth, and big doe eyes; a love of zoology is what I grew up on. Or to put it another way, “David Attenborough”.

When I graduated, I was lucky enough to get a bit of contract work in ecological consultancy, which reminded me how much I enjoy being outdoors and doing jobs that make me fit. Then, I got a job as a scientist. I loved it ‘cos that was the actual job title: ‘Scientist (Microbiology)’. It was like someone wanting to be the boss all their life, then finally getting a job as the chief electrician in a film unit production unit, job title: Gaffer. Plus, it was micro. It was nice to be doing micro stuff again. It was a neat job – I could certainly have seen myself settling down there and being a scientist for the rest of my life. But…


I love research. Finding out new things is Awesome! Well, mostly. Finding out that all the Lord of the Rings DVD extras where just about ‘destroying the magic’, rather than exploring the Tolkien mythos, or discovering that the retching sound last night was the cat throwing up on your computer chair; they’re not good things to discover. But reading and doing experiments, that’s totally Awesome.

For the next 3 years, I essentially get paid to learn, explore, and experiment. And I get to do it outdoors in the Scottish wilderness, in my own lab (once I get it set up), and in an old school building with the best, laid-back-yet-professional atmosphere I’ve ever come across. This is, without a doubt, my dream job.

Micro for Life!

I’m also a proper microbiologist, now. I mean, sure, it’s kind of been my job title for the last year, but I always felt like more of a general scientist, less a microbiologist. However, over the last two days, I’ve realised that I’m indeed and honest to goodness Microbiologist. I might even be an “environmental microbiologist”.
Here’s the evidence:

  • I’ve been tasked with setting up my own micro lab.
  • I’m going to be collecting, growing, probing, and otherwise analysing medically important microorganisms.
  • A few moments ago, I wrote ‘Escherichia’ without having to look up the spelling.

Don’t get me wrong, just yesterday I met a PROPER MICROBIOLOGIST, and it made me realise that, as with everything, there’s still a lot I don’t know. But yeah… I’m a microbiologist. That’s pretty cool.

Life up North

In my next blog post, I’ll attempt to make everyone jealous of where I live. There’ll be pictures and everything. Y’see, as Awesome as this has all been, there has been one large downside to moving up here. I have now been without the broadband internet for [checks watch; wipes brow] five days. As a result, all my pics are still on my phone and any gaming I’ve been able to do has been offline only. Terrible, I know. Sure, my phone still connects and the work computer probably has a T1 connection, or something, but at home, it’s like being back in the 90’s, but without dial-up. The point is, once I get home tonight, the nice BT/Sky man should have visited, so I should be able to rejoin the land of the broadband enlightened. This means lots of nice pics in the next blog post, and maybe, since I’ll be writing from the comfort of my own keyboard, a bit more focus.

This entry was posted in PhD, Ramblings, Science!, Things That Make Me Happy. Bookmark the permalink.

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