(This is part of a series of recommendations that I will be sharing for the next 5 months on how to be a tree in times of the storm)
Life always hits harder and it is when you least expect it. During the canonical movie “Rocky Balboa”, he shares his take on the fact that life is something that you don’t win by hitting it hard, but by being able to support yourself until the last ring of the bell. This is something that is of extreme importance in graduate school.
You, the reader, may be new to grad-school, or maybe you are a seasoned student; however, at the eyes of Life, you are one and the same. It always seems that Life hits the hardest when you least expect it: I would like to call this “the lull before the storm”. The calmness of the wind; the silence of the birds; the sheer disturbance that only your hearts feels because “it’s quite, too quite”, I’ve come to know these moments quite personally.
Story time: During my first internship as an undergraduate, my grandfather from my father side had a heart attack and perished. I was extremely close with him, for this reason, my parents decided not to tell me right away. They told me that my grandfather had a minor accident and had to go to the hospital (this is pretty common for him, he used to play basketball with people half his age and always getting hurt). I felt convinced that everything was fine and there was no problem, this was just “minor”. Hours passed, my mother kept calling to give me “updates” but each time the gravity of the situation went from minor to mild to critical. Then it hit, my dear grandfather has passed away. For a 19 year old me, this was life changing, but not in a bad way. I had to comfort in his last words to me: “do what you love, and do it well, my grandchild”. I had just fallen in love with research and he was proud that I found something that I wanted to do. These words established the roots that still make me go as a researcher.
I leave you with these words: establish your roots. It doesn’t have to be on words that someone gave you, it can easily be in other life experiences or in your own will, but establish them. Choose something that makes you both tick-and-tock; choose something that makes you feel powerful and full of vitality. This will allow for you to grow into a beautiful palm tree (or any kind of tree that you like, for that matter) that can hold its place whenever the storm hits. Now, let’s think about the trunk… ¡Salud!
Luis R. De Jesús Báez | Chemistry
Luis R. De Jesús Báez
is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the department of chemistry. He likes to write about the small things; those that are important but sometimes we forget due to our busy life. Let’s converse!