Blog & Updates

October 18, 2022

Our experiences after a year of SURREAL - Kick-off by Juliette (ESR5)

12 months ago, many of our Early Stage Researchers joined the SURREAL project. We are eager to share their most important experiences to date!

Every week, an ESR will provide a mini update by answering the 4 questions below. Hopefully, this will give you some insight into their most important first year experiences.

12 months on…:

  • What is the most interesting thing you’ve learnt?
  • The hardest task you have come across?
  • The most fun experience within SURREAL?
  • How has your research impacted your daily life?

Juliette (ESR5) has decided to get the ball rolling first. Here is what she had to say:

Where: Works at the Luxembourg Institute of Socioeconomic Research
When: Started in September 2021

Not specifically Luxembourgish, but here I'm enjoying a currywurscht and Spezi in Mersch

What is the most interesting thing you have learnt?

"This is a more general experience about moving abroad, starting my first job, and having to start a ‘new’ life. I would consider myself quite down to earth and grounded, but this year has really been transformative for me. Transformative as in that there were a lot of changes in my life over the last year to adapt to. I have had many good times, met amazing people, but also experienced hardships that are inescapably associated with doing a PhD. Working through these experiences have taught me valuable life lessons."

The hardest task you have come across?

"I have quite some programming experience, but learning a new programming language combined with the availability of a huge dataset is really challenging. It is easy to get lost on where to start the data analysis and how to proceed. I'm definitely learning a lot from this!"

The most fun experience within SURREAL?

"I am grateful for having three other ESR’s around me in Luxembourg. We catch up with each other regularly, to share our thoughts and experiences over a cup of coffee. This makes the network wide activities, such as the Network Schools, even more valued, as we get to meet the other ESR’s in person too instead of our usual contact online."

How has your research impacted your daily life?

"It feels contradictory to me, when I am reading papers on how people’s environment influences their physical activity behavior, sitting at my desk in the office for about 40 hours a week. I regularly do sports, but I feel like that does not counter the many hours spent sitting at work. My research has definitely made me more aware of my own behavior. I break up long periods of sitting by taking quick coffee breaks, or a short walk through the corridor. I also picked up yoga again recently, to give both the body and mind a stretch after the working day."

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