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061: Why We LOVE Grad School

There’s no denying it: science is hard work. After a long week of 3AM time-points, contaminated cell cultures, and the ‘simple PCR’ that failed for the fifth time, you might lose sight of why you got into this business in the first place.

But, with Thanksgiving on the horizon, we decided to pause and consider all of the GOOD things going on in life and lab.

On the Bright Side

We asked our listeners and our favorite subreddits why they love grad school and working in science. As the responses poured in, we remembered just how great a life of research can be as long as you take the time to notice.

Lab workers love the flexibility of their work schedule. Instead of the 9-5 rat race with 30 minutes for lunch, we get the benefit of planning our time around experiments and results. Need to make a doctor’s appointment or spend some time with family? There’s no form to fill out – just go!

Listeners also found joy in the amazing people around them. As a group, scientists tend to be a quirky, curious, and intelligent bunch, which makes for great conversation. Add the stress of graduate training and you see students and postdocs forming lifelong bonds with their labmates.

We’re in this together, right?

Other common themes in your feedback centered around the perks of the graduate lifestyle. The chance to travel for conferences and the myriad opportunities for free food came up regularly in the conversation.

Daniel shared a very personal message of thanks with everyone who pursues basic research in the sciences. When cancer recently touched the life of his loved-one, he found hope in a clinical trial built on more than 100 years of scientific research in fields from virology, cell biology, neurophysiology and medicine.

With our day-to-day experimental successes and failures, it’s so easy to lose sight of the importance of our work. But know that this holiday season, the work you do provides hope to thousands of people whose lives depend on innovation and discovery.

So what are YOU thankful for this week?

More Causes for Thanksgiving

This week, we stick with the holiday theme to taste the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. It’s not the cloyingly sweet pumpkin-spice monstrosity you expect from most pumpkin beers, so it’s safe to enjoy with dinner. Just save room for the pie!

And Josh shares some not-so-new-news about how scientists are growing unusual bacteria species outside of the incubator. It’s an inspiring tale of bargain basement materials that fuel priceless discoveries.

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