Driven by Anxiety


Hello there! I am Shadma Afzal and I am currently a second-year Ph.D. student in biotechnology at NIT Allahabad, India. My work is based on aspects of plant biotechnology and nanotech, especially the employment of nanoparticles in plants and finding out the plant-nanoparticle interactions in terms of uptake, mobilization mechanisms, and effects on plants. My research work includes synthesis of nanoparticles that are safe and don’t interfere negatively with plant growth.

Since childhood I had a special love for science which was initially for animal sciences and eventually shifted to plant sciences. I feel plants offer us so much more and have the least requirements. I feel blessed to have the opportunities I had as a growing scientist. Although I have few publications and have attended conferences, sometimes I am driven by anxiety to write multiple publications, win awards, and accomplish so much more in such a short duration. I want to share that there are some days I work too much; it feels like too much because a Ph.D. is not like an 8 to 5 job. I feel I may be lagging behind, there is anxiousness from failed experiments or rejected papers.

Sometimes I find myself working all the time and at all hours of the day. It was then I started realizing that things weren’t quite right.

I have seen around me that a Ph.D. can lead to so much pressure, anxiety, depression, self-destructive thoughts and sometimes medication. An emotional (and sometimes financial) support system is essential. I am blessed with an amazing family and a few friends who have always been a support. They keep telling me that I am doing great and should relax sometimes.

So, I always try to keep a balance between my research work and personal life, sometimes when I feel too much, I take evenings out with my friends, eat and dance a little, share my feelings and always try to keep the mood light around peers. I also try to support others going through the same things as me.


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Follow Shadma on Instagram id (@shadmaaniazi & @sciencefluencer) or check out her YouTube channel!

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