Each episode is a snapshop, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. Season one talks to our 2020 graduates about how things are going, or not going, for them. In episode three we meet Neuroscience graduate, Lucja.
Each month we meet five more graduates. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about this weird and unpredictable time.
All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh.
Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.
Music: Since When by Mise Darling.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 10:05
This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season one: Class of 2020.
My name is Lucja and I have fairly recently graduated from the neuroscience course, and I am now doing a neuroscience PhD, um actually in the same lab that was in for my undergrad dissertation.
There was that one time, I think, at the beginning of third year, when I went to speak to my personal tutor to ask him about what he thinks about different types of masters or like, what could I do afterwards? And he said that he can't really help me too much, because he never did a masters. And I was like, 'What do you mean, you never did a masters?' or, you know, you're lecture and physiology? What do you mean? He's like, Oh, yeah, I just, you know, I just got experience beforehand, and, and I did a PhD. Straightaway, I was like [gasp] I could do a PhD straightaway and given that I did have laboratory experience, I kind of started applying for everything.
It was quite a long process when I was applying for different programmes, and also for jobs. It was probably between like, October in third year, and then all up until end of January next year. And then before all the responses came back, that was probably March or April, I was also trying to maybe, as a security thing, get a job in the industry. So in maybe a pharma company, so I went through the recruitment processes for those.
I think when I knew I'm actually doing a PhD was around March, um when the pandemic started. So having that sense of purpose that even after this weird weird summer, that I have something to look forward to, um that was quite a relief, really.
It came in sort of phases. So as far as I was finishing my dissertation writing, I was doing all the data analysis and, you know, draft and I was really, really stressful. So as soon as I stopped that I kind of went into 'what do I do with myself' phase, just kind of I can do whatever, you know, I could just like that whole day. At first, it was maybe a week, when I was just not doing anything at all, not, you know, not cooking, not doing any house chores. And I was like, well, I can't live like this.
So then the exercise phase started when I was like, okay, I have time now. I did pole dancing. So I set up my pole, I signed up to some online classes, I did some, you know, lots of flexibility work, all that and then I managed to injure myself.
After that there came the kind of crafty phase. So I got my partner into brewing. So together, we made wine, we made different types of beer. We made mead as well, as a celebration of my results coming out. I went and gathered elderflowers and made elderflower syrup from them. I got into macramé. So I started making plant hangers, and I sold a couple. And as much as lockdown was a fairly sad experience for multiple people, I think the appreciation for like, very calm, crafty activities, has risen. And I'm really happy about that. Because I think that's something that has been a part of my life for a long, long time and hasn't been appreciated that much. You know, as much as everyone has been talking about, you know, mindfulness or meditation or similar things. I feel like those slow activities are really good for everyone and should stay a part of our lives.
I am not sure where exactly I encountered pole dancing first. I might-- it might have been like freshers fair in first year, maybe. But then for the first year and second year, I was kind of like, well, I want to join by, you know, I never did. I wasn't very organised back then. And then in third year, I was like, okay, I'm going, this looks so cool. I went to my first class. I remember it was like a really cold, dark evening. And I came back with a massive grin on my face. And I said to my flatmates, so I really really love doing this, but I suck. I am absolutely awful. I can't tell my limbs from each other. I can't do left, right, front, back. I can't spin around the pole. But I'm really liking and then I just kind of kept going at first once a week, then twice a week. Then I got onto the competition team last year. At some point I was joking that I-- I signed up for a PhD so I can pole dance for four years more.
Seeing how limited my resources and my-- communities would be, if I left University and got into a job and just worked from home from now on. I think the contrast is massive, especially with all my societies and, and my PhD cohorts. We're, you know, encouraged to socialise together obviously, it's not very easy right now. And all these opportunities to attend seminars and to attend events. Even though they're online, they're such a big resource compared to what it would look like if I just got a job now. I think it's way harder to get into a community at the moment in general. And the ones that I have are mostly the pre-existing ones. Since even the lab I'm in I've been in before and I know the people, I can chat to them. And I think being actively encouraged to socialise even if it's awkward, even if it's, you know, a little bit weird and Zoom, helps with the fact that we're all still sort of stuck at home.
We also ask our graduates to share a place, somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this has finished.
During the whole lockdown, I've been going on walks because you know, you-- there wasn't much else to do outside of your house and the closest, you know, nature place apart from the Holyrood Park, which gets boring after a bit if you go there, you know, every-- every couple days was Blackford Hill and Hermitage of Braid. And there's just that beautiful wooded area there. And there are some funky shaped trees. I've been, you know, trying to hang up the trees a little bit, take photos, play with shapes that I would usually do on the pole, as well. So it's a great place. And it's also the place where I did most of my foraging. So, at the beginning was the elderflowers then there were raspberries, so I made raspberry wine out of that. And then it was blackberries, some sloes as well. I haven't really found a purpose for the sloes yet, but I will, probably sloe gin and then yeah, blackberries for blackberry wine, then elderberries for elderberry wine. Yeah, there were plenty things. Oh, also apples for crumble.
I think that's something that I brought out of my childhood. So with my mum and like my family in general, so I would go look for all the, you know, weird berries I could make maybe pictures out of, or jams. We had lots of fruits in our garden as well. So we grew a lot of it even if the garden was fairly small, and we would go mushroom foraging every year. And that's kind of I think that's a very Polish thing to do. Because the mushrooms that we use for our traditional dishes on Christmas Eve are well mushrooms they're not a farmed mushrooms. So you can you have to either go and find them for yourself, or you have a really nice neighbour that gives them to you. Obviously there are a lot of rules around it as well. So there's always the rule you know, if you find two mushrooms together, leave one or you always leave some berries for the birds. But I think this is still a really really good pastime and something they can do to appreciate the nature more because you have to identify all the plants, identify the environment you're in. For the mushrooms you also look at which trees they form symbiosis with and it's a good biology lesson.
Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.
Kirsty Roche (Careers Service) 09:06
Feeling inspired by what you've just heard? Take the first step to getting the career you want by contacting the Careers Service. As a recent graduate, you can continue to access all of our services, including access to vacancies on MyCareerHub, practice interviews, our full calendar of online employer events and online appointments with one of our career consultants. Find out more at www.ed.ac.uk/careers.