Hi everyone! Today I am posting on behalf of previous SIOP YI-NET member Kathryn Demanelis (USA), check out her post about how she balances her diverse research interests:
I am not sure if I am the best person to write about how to balance research interests since I am generally interested in everything. My dissertation research examined two broad topics: descriptive pediatric cancer epidemiology in Southeast Asia and chronic cadmium exposure and its effects on the epigenome. Both of these projects were based in Thailand and focused on vulnerable populations. Otherwise, these projects are quite different and involve very different datasets, types of analyses, and research questions.
So, how did I balance these interests? Generally, I feel like I didn’t. Every morning my inbox was flooded with Pubmed alerts of abstracts related to papers recently published on cancer epigenetics, cadmium, DNA methylation and aging, pediatric leukemia,…etc. I found that I was perpetually thinking about all of my projects. During the first few years of my doctoral program, I included many things for each of my projects in my reminders each day, but as expected, many things were not finished by the end of the day. I felt guilty and unproductive. In the third year, I devoted time to each of my projects intensely for about 1 or 2 months.
In my final year, I tried to find a balance between these two approaches: I tried to commit two working days to each project during the week. Under this structure, I avoided neglecting any projects and maintain the momentum necessary for completing the manuscripts related to my dissertation research. I worked towards some level of research zen and embrace all of my interests.
What your strategies for balancing all of your research interests?