I was pondering how to begin my first blog. And I suddenly went back in time to a bit earlier than the beginning of my COLOTAN story.
During the last year of my master study, I decided that continuing in academia would suit me better. For this reason, I was already looking for a PhD position in the pharmaceutical area where I could learn new techniques and broaden my horizons. After 5 months of searching, I came across the COLOTAN Project, which is focused on developing a system that can deliver sufficient drug concentration to the colon disease site for effective treatment. And I began looking into the specific objectives of the project’s various positions. I didn’t need to dig in much because I found the topic of the ESR1 position, which is about developing a novel chemically modified polysaccharide coating for colon targeted drug delivery system, interesting. I thought that among all positions in the project, I could use my organic chemistry skills for the synthesis side of this position and learn about the drug delivery systems.
After gathering the required documents and submitting my application, I received an invitation for the first interview with my promoter. I will never forget that date, ‘14th of December’, which was the evening before my marriage ceremony. I was extremely excited about both events.
Both events went off without a hitch. 😊 Later on, there was a recruitment event to introduce myself with my previous experiences, answering the questions regarding polysaccharides and colon targeting topics and sharing future expectations.
Was I nervous?
Well… In Turkish, we have a phrase “my heart is beating in my mouth,” which refers to the stage when excitement and nervosity take over your body and your heart rate rises. That was the situation for me at the time.
After the decision was made by the committee, I was officially an ESR1. And it was time for me to process another visa application, to start working on my PhD project. The ones who are non-EU know that a visa application process is an adventure in itself, but if I start writing about it now, it will take pages. Let me just say that it took more or less 2 months to get the visa.
The idea of relocating to a country and being in a culture that I haven’t been to before was motivating me, making the lengthy visa process seem like just the beginning of a new life. After receiving my visa, we finally arrived in Leuven in May. Because of the pandemic reason, it took almost 2 months for us to settle and figure out our way in Leuven. But we did it. 😊
Sounds like a tough start, but it is not something that can’t be solved with a bit of excitement and love of science. Hopefully, the future will be smoother than the past. So shall we say the magic words?
May the power be with me!
Zeynep Dilara Mituta
(Images from top to bottom: Poznan, Leuven)