So, it has been so long since I last wrote in these pages, that I’m sure that noone reads this anymore. But matter not, I shall finally add another entry.
So much has been happening to me over the last months that I had no time at all to write here. Hell, I don’t remember when I had the last free evening, without 20 deadlines approaching. Most of those deadlines and duties had to do with my applying for a PhD. I had a plan to apply to the most prestigious programmes first, and then proceed to the lesser known universities later.
I first sent my applications to Cambridge (and Oxford too, why not), to the European Molecular Biology Laboratories(EMBL) and to the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics(MPI-CBG).
Oxford never replied, and Cambridge informed me, that they had only 5 positions available, and that I’m not that lucky. However, both EMBL and MPI-CBG invited me for interviews. Those were some interviews, each lasting one week.
We were invited to come (all expenses paid) and stay in a hotel nearby the instute. In Heidelberg, we stayed in a Bauhaus-inspired hotel. The building was a cube and all the furniture was very strange, but never mind. The EMBL building is even stranger – it is composed of about 3 cube-like structures integrated into one amazingly confusing maze of corridors and stairways. Suffice it to say, that there are 3 elevators, each leading to a different part of the building, and the entrance is on the 3rd floor.
Confusing as it was, the building was one of the smallest ostacles of the week. After monday’s welcome dinner, we had two full days of interviews. I personally had 20, each lasting 30 minutes of focused attempt to convince the Group-leader that I’m the right person for this program. Exhausting, you bet. And yet, after the second day, I arranged a dinner meeting with one of the PhD students finishing his thesis there.
The whole week was basically about meetings and about trying to make a match. You needed to find a group, which you would like and convince it’s leader that he needs you in it.
Anyway, after all the individual interviews, there was an additional panel interview. I won’t even go into it, because it was the most stressful thing I went through in a long time. After the panel interviews were over, and almost everyone was convinced that they flunked the test, there was a huge party (this was thursday). The party was quite spectacular, because everyone got quite drunk. It didn’t take a lot to get drunk, since the stress of previous days deprived everyone of any apetite. The unlimited free alcohol and great music, didn’t hurt either.
On Friday, after they allowed us to recover (at 4 p.m.) we got the results. And let me just say, that I was awarded the Louis-Jeantet Foundation Fellowship to work at EMBL.
From this place I would also like to congratulate all my friends who also got positions at the EMBL, the MPI and other places. And Congratulations to Daniel, for passing his test.
Singing off, Mike