I’ve been working on a new song, The Sound of Centrifuges. Checkout the first verse:
Hello tissue culture, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because many cells need splitting
And the media needs warming
And the research year that was planted in my brain
Still remains within the sound of centrifuges.
Okay maybe it’s less cryptic than The Sound of Silence, but returning to tissue culture and a wet lab experience is like seeing an old friend again.
It’s been one week since I’ve started working in a new laboratory, and I am beginning to get a feel for the culture of the place. I often feel like a blank canvas, with no skills or experience to really impart on anything/anyone. But upon starting in this lab, I’ve realized that my previous lab experience and past two years of medical school is not all for naught! Tissue culture, the various molecular laboratory techniques I was exposed to in college (FACS to qPCR), and EVEN microfluidics from my previous lab are all going to come in handy in my new projects. It’s exciting! Yet, one cannot help but feel Imposter Syndrome when you are in such a high powered lab and with such brilliant people all around you.
How was I chosen to come here? Why?
Perhaps one of the most interesting experiences I had this week was talking to my new post doc about imposter syndrome and how even she feels it too. This was reassuring as well as interesting, because no matter who you are, you can be susceptible to insecurity.
The question we must ask ourselves is what will we do with this feeling? What will I do with it?
Sometimes, it is difficult for me to see where my life is truly heading, but when I look back at all the decisions I have made and not made, places I have gone and not gone, things that I have done and not done, my life story has progressed in steps that really do make sense.
I was born in a family impacted by sickle cell disease. I was moved by what I saw and frustrated by the great need there is for better treatments for this disease — especially given the disparity in research and treatment. I went to the University of Chicago where I was able to learn about erythroid differentiation and acquire many of the skills that I can now use in my current laboratory. I went to medical school to learn how to become a doctor who can treat patients with this condition, and then by some crazy miracle was accepted to work in a laboratory which aims to treat and cure disorders like sickle cell disease.
It almost reads like a story, and it is my story in which God is the author.
I must remind myself. We must remind ourselves that we are placed where we are for a reason. I choose to believe that life is not random. And, the imposter syndrome is actually quite silly, because I am no one else but myself put here to do what I need to do.
Who am I deceiving besides myself?