Behind the blog: Valentin

Hello out there!

Today, I want to open a short article series. The purpose is to show you who we actually are. Just the stereotype natural scientist without family, friends or social life but with a pronounced inclination for misanthropy and nerdiness? Or maybe just a normal person with an unusual job? I’ll do my best to convince you that I belong to the second category…but the decision is up to you!

Left: Me after trying to solve a stupid problem for 3 hours in a row by staring at the monitor. Right: Me, once the solution popped into my head after calling it a day and relaxing.

Starting at the roots, I was born and raised in southern Germany (Tübingen for the specialists), thus I still have a slight Swabian accent and lots of love for hearty food and good beer. After my A-level, I longed for an adventure: I spent seven months in beautiful Ecuador working with street kids (amazing experience). After seven adventurous months I was ready for an even crazier adventure: Science. I moved to Hamburg where I studied my Bachelor’s and Master’s, garnished with a research stay on Svalbard and a ship expedition. And now, though it feels like two weeks after my first day at university, I am sitting here and writing my PhD thesis. But, even though I really like what I am doing, there are also other important things for me.

I think that finding a good work-life balance is key to being good at my job. Of course, physical background, focus and commitment are ingredients which you necessarily need. However, I (and maybe you as well?) also need moments on the balcony in the evening sun with my girlfriend or my flatmates, a cold beer in the left and hot pizza from next door in the right hand. Accepting that you can’t reach everything by brute force was a very important step for me. Less is sometimes more. And, more often than not, my best ideas didn’t come after staring holes in my monitor for three hours in a row. Instead, enlightenment hit me when I least expected it, at home, doing no matter what. Except thinking of work. Long story short: don’t underestimate the power of not working.

So, coming back to the original question: Nerd or no nerd? Your decision!

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