I will in this post take a short break from my blog series on haptic feedback as an interaction modality, since I was reminded about my time as a Ph.D. student today, by a very special sign – the orchid I got from my main supervisor, Eva-Lotta Sallnäs Pysander, the day I defended my thesis! This orchid was, of course, in full bloom when I got it, but the flowers naturally withered after a few months. I didn’t give up and after several months caring for a plant that only had leafs, buds started popping up and the first one burst exactly one year after I graduated, 28/11 2014!
Last year small buds started showing at the three-year anniversary of my graduation, but the first one was not in full bloom until today. So, the orchid kind of missed the anniversary, but I was still reminded of a very interesting and joyful period in my life. During my time as a Ph.D. student at the Media technology and Interaction Design department, KTH, I teached quite a lot, I ran several studies both at KTH and Karolinska Institutet and I even had to redo an entire experiment due to results that had been affected by a design flaw, but I still never had a boring moment and I always enjoyed my work. The excellent supervising skills of Eva-Lotta Sallnäs Pysander and Kerstin Severinson Eklundh have been very important in this regard and so has the fact that I was employed by the institution and not a specific project.
The best part about being a Ph.D. student was that I continuously had to challenge myself. I, of course, had regular contact with and a very good collaboration with my supervisors, but I was still the one in charge of several studies and my own situation as a whole. Planning large studies and carrying them out, especially when they concern situations where the results could really make a difference (like collaboration between visually impaired and sighted pupils in schools), is something I find very rewarding. I often managed to stick with the set up plans, but during a period when my medication for my rheumatical disease was still being adjusted and I was forced into sick leaves from time to time, it was tough. But, still, my five years as a Ph.D. student was one of the best periods I have experienced this far!