2014: transitions and adventures

thesis writing deskThis time last year I was hiding in a library writing up my PhD thesis. Since then 2014 has passed by in something of a whirlwind so I’ve been taking some time to reflect on what has happened.

In a nutshell: I finished my PhD, spent six-months working as a Post-Doc to finish my research project, and then left academia to start a new job with the online journal eLife.

On leaving research

I started my new job in September. I work in the Features team, which manages the more magazine-style content of the journal including the eLife Digests—non-technical summaries—that accompany all the research articles. I have been getting to grips with the various writing and editing tasks, which generally involve working out how to write about research with as few technical terms as possible.

I really enjoy the work and my new colleagues are a great bunch of people to work with. I have also been involved in setting up the new eLife blog on Medium where we are now sharing a selection of eLife Digests. One of the really cool things about my new job is that I am exposed to new and exciting research from a much wider variety of subjects than before. eLife publishes research from across the life and biomedical sciences so I am learning a lot!

Do I have any regrets on leaving research? Short answer: No.

I do miss the more practical elements of research (doing experiments and working with the plants) but I don’t miss the accompanying rollercoaster of emotions, or the pressure (usually self-inflicted) to get an experiment finished in a particular timescale. It was really great to work in research for a few years, and I learnt loads about science (and myself) that I might not have learnt otherwise, but it was definitely the right time to try something new.

Adventures in Africa

Brikama, The Gambia

Brikama, The Gambia

Outside of my professional(-ish) life I am also an adult volunteer in Girlguiding. Alongside my normal role, I also spent three weeks working on a community project in The Gambia, West Africa, with the local Girl Guide Association. While there my team ran training sessions on leadership, teamwork and advocacy and we worked with almost 400 people!

The preparations for the trip—which included training weekends, planning meetings, phone conferences and lots of fundraising—started way-back in late 2013. I had a fantastic time and if you would like to know more then read this article I wrote, or visit my team’s website.

2014 has been a great year for me, although I must admit that I hope 2015 will turn out to be a little bit calmer. Blogging will continue, and I may even find the time to do some gardening

The next post on Plant Scientist will be published in early January 2015. In case you missed them, here are the most popular posts from 2014:

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2 thoughts on “2014: transitions and adventures

  1. hi, Sarah, I am Junhui in Giles’s Lab. I like your blog articles, they are very interesting. I saw the photo of your bench and office in JIC, and fortunately I am using them now. 🙂

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