Some people have an immovable faith in life. Even when the road ahead of them is rocky, the outcome of their endeavours unsure, they believe that it will all be fine in the end. I am not one of these people, which is why my final year of my PhD feels like I am walking through a dark and dismal place called Mordor.
Coming closer to the end of my PhD, I feel like I am further away from my degree than ever. I still have so many experiments to finish, with little time in the lab, thanks to the coronavirus measures. At this point, I do not have enough results to complete the thesis, which puts me under a lot of pressure to achieve more. Yet, I am not sure whether I would manage, even if I could go to the lab full time. It takes so long to optimise experiments before I can actually perform them, and even then, they can still fail. This has happened to me, more than once. Altogether, the situation makes me feel hopeless.
Just as naive Frodo, I accepted a challenge about which I had no clue how hard it would get
Some days, the thoughts of failure are all-consuming, haunting me day and night. I feel like the protagonist in a movie, who is going through the toughest period of the plot. And just as naive Frodo, I accepted a challenge about which I had no clue how hard it would get.
It does not only take knowledge and planning skills to finish a PhD. It also takes a strong will and the ability to perservere , no matter how often an experiment has failed already—but not knowing if or when I will succeed makes me feel like I have no control, and I do not know what to do to get the situation under control.
I know, I am being dramatic, it is just a degree, not the threat of the world being taken over by a dark lord. It is my ego that would suffer from actually failing, which isn’t even sure at this point. Maybe my story will have a happy end. Yet, right now, I am in Mordor, but I just want to return to the Shire and enjoy a simple life with my friends and family around.
Katrin Heidemeyer came to Wageningen in 2014 to do her Masters, and started her PhD at the Laboratory of Biochemistry thee years ago. She hails from Germany.