I’m Periklis and this is my first attempt to blog post about my PhD-life experience so far. I’m from beautiful Greece and I’m a developmental biologist by training. Almost a year ago I started my PhD in Dr. Arnone’s lab at Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples, Italy.
At first, as many of you probably already know and have experienced, leaving from your country and from your comfort zone in general is hard. So arriving to a new to me country was a great challenge, which turned out really fast to be my new normal.
Usually the PhD –day starts like this. I am a morning person so I try to wake up as early as I can (I don’t always manage to do that), have breakfast and then go to the lab. On the way to work you can experience the Neapolitan charm. People drinking the famous Italian espresso in coffee shops (which in Italian are called bars!), being surrounded by tiny cars and scooters and people laughing and speaking to each other loudly. Our institute is based in a beautiful park by the sea and I have to admit that I’m still thrilled by its beauty and history.
The day starts and usually includes going to the animal facility in order to spawn the sea urchins, starting embryo cultures, cloning genes, performing gene expression visualization experiments (in situ hybridization and immunostaining) hoping that everything will work fine (although this is not always the case, but this is a different blog post!) After lunch break and the important Italian fast coffee break the day goes on and includes training students and doing experiments.
At this point, I would like to take a few seconds to mention an important aspect of our group, its diversity, which contributes to be happy to go to work every day. Although we are in Italy, it is a pretty diverse group consisted of people from all around the globe. Apart from the scientific part this helped me really a lot, since I got exposed to different cultures and learned to appreciate the values of each one of them and to conclude that at the basis of all things we are not that different after all. We are just colleagues and friends working towards a common goal to promote science while enjoying this experience!
Being a PhD student and especially an EvoCeLL fellow gives me the opportunity to travel across the world, work in different institutes in different countries, participate in multiple conferences and interact with people that have different cultural and scientific backgrounds. Those are, at least to me, some of the most important aspects of being a PhD student that help develop your perception of the world and your scientific thoughts and plans.
So, here I am one year after starting my PhD, enjoying the perks of the PhD life, always meeting new people, learning new things and being enthusiastic about the rest of the PhD journey!