Featured ‘Day in the life of’: Rebecca, PhD student in microbiology and science blogger.

A day in the life of Rebecca (a third year microbiology PhD student and science blogger).

Hey! I’m Rebecca. I’m now halfway through my PhD and discovering how much I love talking about all kinds of science to anyone and everyone who will listen.

My blog, An Anxious Scientist, is a celebration of all things science. I have a regular Meet a Scientist column where I interview some of my favourites from the world of science communication and quiz them on everything from social media to wacky alternative career choices. There are also monthly round ups of the best science headlines (This Month in Science) and some advice on UK-wide science events (What’s On: Science).

There’s no such thing as a typical day in science but here is a snippet of what I got up to in my first week back after three months off on placement!


9am – I’m having a later start today (you’ll see why soon) so I’m making the most of a free quiet hour at home to make some progress on my TAP report. TAP (thesis advisory panel) meetings are every six months at my institution and they really do help to keep you on track. It’s a bit of a struggle remembering what I was doing before I went on placement though!


11.40am – Tea break! I have just got into the office after attending my first cognitive behavioural therapy session. I’m on an 8 week course of CBT after being officially diagnosed with OCD and anxiety recently. These are group sessions which are not my sort of thing at all but I’m trying to be open minded.


12.15pm – I like to think that I’m a pretty organized person, probably a little too much! This little weekly planner is from Lucky Dip Club and I find it super useful for making sure that I have bacteria growing ready for when I need them. And for reminding me about looming deadlines too!


1.15pm – Making growth media is a really basic part of any microbiologist’s life. The media that I am putting together at the moment lacks a lot of important things which means I can use it to see what compounds are essential for my bacteria to survive.


2:45pm – I ran this experiment a while ago and I am finally getting around to analysing the data. I have been putting it off for ages because I knew that it hadn’t worked as I had been hoping (sad face) but it still needs writing up for my lab book.


4.00pm – The bacteria that I’m using need to be incubated in a warm room overnight so that they are ready for my experiment tomorrow. We don’t have a gas supply in our lab so we use cannisters (and lots of 70% ethanol) to keep contamination at bay.


5.28pm – I have really got into podcasts recently! I listen to them every time I’m walking anywhere or when I’m on a run too.  Ologies was recommended to me on Instagram and I’m a huge fan already! So far there have been episodes on volcanology and primatology. They’re super interesting, I definitely suggest checking them out if podcasts are your thing.


7.00pm – Hockey time! I play for my local team and love it. There is no better way to clear your head or de-stress than hitting hockey balls really hard! I think it’s important to find something that you enjoy that has nothing to do with your PhD, just to keep you sane.


10.45pm – I try whenever possible to read a little before I go to bed. After now being at home for a couple of weeks I am so behind on my New Scientist subscription so I’m cramming in some of their main news stories.


If you want to see more of what I do then please check out my blog (An Anxious Scientist; click here), Instagram (@ananxiousscientist; click here) or Twitter (@RebeccaJHall13). I’m always on the look out for guest bloggers or new collaborations! Thanks to Bri for giving me the opportunity to spread a bit of science love!

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