A Story of Happiness: Sailing through grad school in best ship ever – Friendship :P


We ask you to “share a story of a particularly joyous moment in your Ph.D.” Here is Vaishali’s story:

Life seemed chaotic during Ph.D., and experiments always seemed to go haywire but my labmates kept me sane. Three of us joined the lab around the same time thus we all sailed through grad school together. I was lucky to have two of them around when I needed to vent, talk and discuss anything science or non-science ;). I looked forward to occasional lab lunches, Friday evening happy hours, dinners, celebrating bdays and festivals. One of my labmate would come up with hilarious one-liners, crazy jokes, and some unique dance moves …. so yeah there was no shortage of entertainment and comic relief in our lab. Sometimes we would have our 4 o’clock tea sessions where we would discuss anything from world politics to Hollywood/Bollywood gossip. So although Ph.D. was rough, having good labmates made it manageable.

I have moved almost every year of my Ph.D., but the best memories were created in apartment ‘North 906’. When I moved there in 2014, I was slightly nervous and apprehensive if I would get along with my new roommates, but little did I know, I was about to experience the best six months of my journey in the USA. Every evening I returned to an apartment which felt like home. We were 5 girls and there was never a dull moment in our apartment. We had a beautiful view of the parkway and huge patio. Evenings were spent at the dinner table, discussing our day/life in general and our conversations was supplemented with lots of laughter. On the weekends we roamed in the city, tried new restaurants, danced on Bollywood songs and of course, clicked lots and lots of pictures. We celebrated every birthday and festival, and I particularly remember the ‘Diwali’ party we hosted. The prep for the Diwali party started two weeks in advance, and about 20-30 people were invited for the grand celebration. I still remember how we all stayed up late, decorating the apartment with lights, making the canopy and planning games and of course dress trials :D. I will be forever indebted to these girls for all the happy memories. Eventually, all of them moved out while I stayed back, but our friendship still continues.

Strong friendships and reliable people make a difference especially when you are 1000 miles away from family. Fortunately, throughout my Ph.D., at every phase, I was able to find such connections. My friends always gave me plenty of reasons to smile and laugh, and to some extent, take my mind off the uncertainties related to work. Looking back I feel I wouldn’t have been able to pull through grad school without any of my friends. All the beautiful memories we created will now last me a lifetime.

P.S. I would have loved to share more happy memories associated with each of my friend here, but will have to refrain from doing so due to limited space and time 🙂

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