A biological hazard is a biological substance that is infectious and thus poses a threat to the health of organisms. The biohazard symbol is used to label such substances, so exposure to them can be avoided.
Last Monday, a long awaited day had come: I got my second tattoo done in a studio in Vienna. I don't remember when exactly I had come up with the idea for that one, I liked the Biohazard symbol for its meaning and shape even before I started to study Biotechnology, but I think it was around the first year of my Bachelor's studies that I thought about getting it tattooed. My boyfriend then had the idea that it would my gift from him for my graduation.
Well, after my graduation in June we had to renovate our apartment and it was clear that it was not the right time to get a new tattoo. Also, it was really hot and I got my first one in June 2012 and found it horrible to cope with the itching and putting on cream etc. in the heat. So I decided to wait for autumn/winter before getting it. By then I was fighting a different battle, and getting up in the morning, going to necessary events and making important appointments was difficult enough for me, and taking my time to look for a tattoo studio in Vienna was out of question.
But my boyfriend never forgot his promise, and when a colleague at work showed him his newest tattoo, he asked him for the studio where he gets all his ink done, so we got a recommendation. Since I went there without asking for an appointment at a specific artist, I also got one just one week later. On Sunday I was extremely nervous and had serious doubts. I felt really down and depressed the last days because I had been (rather unsuccessfully) trying to study for a big exam and getting stuff at work sorted out, and I was really scared that it wouldn't turn out as I wanted it to be, and generally doubting more or less everything about myself and my life. I was also scared about other people's reactions. Would they laugh at me for getting such a symbol? What about the people at work, people who knew the symbols meaning? What about my mother who's generally opposed to body modification?
In the end, I was feeling much better the ver moment I stepped into the tattoo studio and was warmly welcomed. I was pleasantly surprised by the time the artist took to discuss the symbol with me. He asked if I had a specific reason to chose it, and we had a nice chat to pass the time during the inking . We were also discussing the best position and size, and he put a great effort into getting it perfectly to the middle of my neck. Of course this is difficult because human bodies are not perfectly symmetrical, and even in the picture it looks a bit off/distorted because it's exactly on top of a vertebra. Anyhow, in the end I am very satisfied with his work :) My mum hasn't seen it yet but I confessed to her on the same day, and she wasn't even as shocked as I had expected it. She even said "I suppose if I was your age now, I'd do the same". Back when she was my age of course, tattoos were still a big taboo, more or less only worn by criminals and whores, or such was the general image of tattooed people. But my mum was always a bit of a "wild child", and I can somehow imagine a younger version of herself getting a tattoo - if it weren't for her admitted fear of needles :'D
Another big thing that happened on Monday was a meeting about my project at work. I haven't talked about this before because I am now trying to keep these things more private, but I want to give a short update where I'm currently standing. So the initial plan was to work on a project part time for 1.5 years and then during my last semester, full time. I soon realized that I didn't enjoy the work as much as anticipated, mainly because it's mostly analytics and I really miss working with "living things" (mainly cells and bacteria). I also wish to get some more experience with different imaging techniques and histology. As it turned out, the project I was initially appointed to was more or less postponed, as the analysis of samples from a different study had priority for a publication - which mainly meant a smaller number of samples to analyze for now. I used this opportunity to talk to my boss about other options to do my Master thesis. I offered to do the work for him in summer, but mentioned that I wanted to get more experience in other fields too.
It was a difficult step to start talking about this. As I had been offered this job based on my previous work in an internship, I really didn't want to seem ungrateful. I didn't want to disappoint them by "quitting" and I certainly didn't want anybody to think that I regard their work as "boring". But at the end of the day, analytics is just the field I want to specialize in, and I just think that it would be a mistake to write my thesis in such a particular field of research when I don't really wanna do it in the future, especially for my PhD (if I end up doing one). So... while I do think my boss was probably a little bit disappointed, we talked it through and agreed on new terms. He promised me to ask the responsible person if I could be part of a different cooperation project that involves another research lab that applies various different techniques used in research. If everything works out, I might be able to do my thesis work in part at their lab and learn these techniques, and do the other part in my present lab. It would mean that on one hand, I have a more basic knowledge and a more "broad" topic to write about, on the other hand I can also show that I'm capable of doing these special analytical techniques that we apply at my current work place. I think it would be a great mix and could really help me to get a good PhD position, or at least a decent job after I'm finished. Now all that's left to hope is that the "deal" works out and the guys in the other lab are willing to take me in for a while and teach me all those techniques and allow me to write my thesis about the project! So, yeah, Monday was quite the "life changing day" I guess. At least I feel a bit more comfortable about my future "career" now.
On the other hand, today was a pretty big exam, for which (as always) I didn't study enough - which by itself wouldn't have been the biggest problem, if I hadn't realized around 10pm last night that half of my lecture notes were missing. Or maybe I didn't take any, I seriously couldn't even tell anymore. I tried to binge study all that stuff from the power point slides alone, but it was hopeless. After too little sleep, I went to the exam where of the 10 questions asked, only 4 were about topics I had actually studied more or less properly (I need 60% to pass the exam...). And of course the two big "essay questions" that count for more points than the others were about those other topics too. It was just really bad luck, I guess. Now I'm pretty sure I didn't pass and it really pisses me off that I have to wait till next autumn before I can take the exam again. I had planned to study all February for it, but ended up working full time almost the whole month and was so exhausted that I didn't have any brain capacity left... all in all, it just really made me think if I am really cut out for this kind of work. Of course it's different once I've finished my studies and work a proper job full time (which might even get properly payed for once, yey!) but I have yet to make it there.
So, yeah, today was a pretty shitty day, but my boyfriend got me this to cheer me up:
These plushies are so lovely with their giant sparkly eyes ♥ So cute!
Well, anyhow. There's no use in self hate. It's bad enough that I couldn't keep up with my plans because I was so stressed out these days, now I'll just try to get a little bit of rest from work and studying this week before the new semester and work hit me in the face again.