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Look After Yourself – Exhale Doubt, Inhale Confidence

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This week I had a crisis of confidence and it all started with some experiments that didn’t go the way I wanted. With some bad knockdowns and with not so amazing transfections, I started feeling a bit negative about what I was doing. Then, with a couple of meetings with the supervisors, discussing the project progression, I managed to talk myself into absolute stress – a fuzzy feeling. Bad timing, right? Finally, I came out of it feeling as if I had let myself and my superiors down. 

I feel better today, after a couple of days of feeling sorry for myself. Blessed with lovely parents, my friend, lab mates, and supervisors have been amazing at ‘turning my frown upside down’ (some without even knowing I was upset). With some cheesy motivational quotes, I learned things both from them and myself – I am not going to lie, they don’t help me, but they do make me laugh. I hope it will help all those who will be reading this and find themselves in a similar situation.

Cry out loud

Personally, I am a crier. Sometimes you just need to get it out. I got home, put down my bag, and had a good, gaspy, snotty cry. I felt like it, which won’t make me feel better afterwards anyway. A drive that nothing will get me out but logic, I burst out with emotion. After all, no one wants to be that person who throws a beaker across the lab, so just save it for home.

Talk – Not guilty

Talk. Never keep sad and angry thoughts to yourself, talk to a loved one. It may take a couple of repeats before my eyes dry and I start to listen to the advice being given to me, but having someone close to listen to your problems often helps to resolve the escalated problems in your head (#guilty).

Embrace good people

You’re the only important human, after all. Whether it is my parents, my loved one (who hugged me despite being a snotty, crying mess), my friend (who made funny faces and gave me a bit of a reality check over Skype), my lab mates (telling me their horror stories and making me feel not so alone). I actually did feel fine and they were all brilliant. So, surround yourself with positive people who have your best interests at heart. When that little voice in your head is being negative, have people you can trust to tell you, actually, you are great.

Will you recollect this in 10 years?

At times of hardships, you may tell this to yourself: ‘Yes. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and I will never get over this. It will change my life forever.’ And a week later? Probably already forgotten.

Supplement booster

Chocolates, TV, snuggly sofas, blankets, and sleep are a must in your checklist. Sleep is the most important of all the aspects. It definitely will help you when you have your next wobble.

When it comes to thriving in the face of adversity, I’m reminded of one particular quote from Mulan: ‘The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.’

Jashan Jot Kaur is a researcher at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

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