1. Hello, this is 홍세미, a researcher in bio science field.
I graduated engineering school, but changed my major to bio science and completed biology master degree. I studied neurobiology for my specifics in graduate school and conducted research with neurons and animals. Last year I spent my time in a protein structure lab.
I now have a Youtube channel <홍세발이sebari>, dealing with contents about bioscience research and graduate school.
2. Youtuber 홍세발이
I couldn’t think of having a hobby during graduate school since I didn’t have a lot of me-time. After graduation I wanted to have a decent hobby, and came to start a Youtube channel after thinking about 1.what can I do for hobby? 2.what will be a way to develop my ability to record things? And 3.can I have income through my hobby?
The first year of Youtube was about my own v-logs, which were all viewed less than 100 times. After that I started to upload videos about research, getting hints from other researchers’ youtube videos. This led to increased followers and viewers, and now I have over 2000 followers.
3. Different life in the US
Life in Korea feels like a busy, hasty one, whereas life in the US feels peaceful and relaxed. I think using analog-style process in work has certain effect on this feeling.
Also, most of people go home around 4~5pm and spend time with their family, which is very different from Korea.
I didn’t spend time in an American graduate school so I really can’t compare the domestic and abroad labs exactly, but when I hear things from my husband who’s undergoing Post-doctoral degree in US it seems like the research environment also differs from that of Korea.
The most impressive thing was the frequent small-scale seminars, where free discussions take place. When I heard about it, I wanted to experience the research life in the US as well.
4. You don’t have to be born with it
I began with simple curiosity towards biology, but during graduate school I grew fond of my experiment as well, and wanted to pursue my career as a researcher in bioscience.
Especially in biology, I think the effort matters more than the talent. People get frustrated in the field of art or music when they see the so-called ‘genius’, but in my field you only get as much as your effort.
5. Insensitivity towards failure, a flying mouse
I think I was a bit insensitive to failures. When something went wrong, I usually didn’t think of it as a failure but just considered it as a problem that I should solve. So I didn’t feel of it as a failure at the time.
For instance, I conducted a behavior experiment with a mouse when I was in my masters degree.
One day, a mouse jumped off from the lab and was gone. When this happened, I just thought ‘Oh, mice can really jump.. I should make a higher maze’.
When challenging a new field, you are destined to stumble since you are not used to anything. Don’t think of it as a failure, just look at it as a problem that you can solve. Then you will be able to succeed ‘without failure’.
6. Various experience and graduate school
Engineering school, graduate student in bioscience, bioscience researcher, youtuber…
Come to think about it, my experience are not actually interlocked with each other. I think the reason I could pursue these various experience was because of my parents, who supported every decision that I made.
The only thing that my parents were against was graduate school, so I thought about it over and over since it was the first time my parents said no to my decision.
Thoughts like ‘is this my own greed?’ or ‘maybe I’m just wasting my time’ came to me, so it was somewhat hard time for me.
Whenever I wanted quit, I thought ‘just a bit more, just a little more’. After some time I had a lot of experience, which helped me complete the graduate school course.
7. Failure is not a failure.
As I told you before, I didn’t see my fails as a failure. It was just something that I needed to answer, and I focused on solving the problem.
Come to think of it, that process gave me courage to challenge new fields and get over numerous failures. So I just don’t think my ‘failures’ as fails.
8. Beginning is what matters
I really like books and read a lot, but I don’t quite finish all of them. Books that I didn’t finish reading surpass those that I actually read more than 5 times.
I used to finish the book that I started, but at one point I had this thought ‘Finishing the book is not the important part’. So now if I feel the contents of a book is not helpful or necessary to me, I simply stop reading.
Maybe you can try reading more books if you let go of the feeling that you have to ‘finish’ what you started.
9. Believe in your choice
Quite a lot of people consult me regarding their career, and my answer is always the same ; it’s better to regret after you do it than regretting something you didn’t try. You can do anything you want. Just try! You simply have to take responsibility for the things that you did, and live through your life with that responsibility. After all, the person who knows you the best is yourself.
So I want to tell those who wish to pursue different field or new experience to follow your mind. Trust in yourself, believe in what you choose and support yourself. If you can persuade yourself, you can always persuade other people. Cheers for everybody!
"Failure is a process towards better choices"
About the interviewee
Department of Textile Material System Engineering, Jeonbuk Univ.
Master degree in bio science biotechnology, Jeonnam Univ.
Pharmaceutical full-time researcher