Graduate school looks different for each graduate student, but all graduate careers come with ups, downs, and all that happens in between. In this post, recent Bioengineering doctoral graduate, Parinaz Fathi, introduces us to an unexpected aspect of her PhD experience, an illustrated mouse named Fred.
In the final stages of revisions for a paper, we were asked to replace the mouse clipart we had used for the figures with one which we had drawn ourselves. I was able to draw one by hand on my laptop, and edited the figures accordingly. However, the mouse, which I named Fred, took on a personality of its own and became a mascot of sorts as I went through the remainder of my graduate career.
I found that it was pretty relaxing to draw different versions of Fred doing different activities, often based on how I was feeling on a particular day. Sometimes I would draw Fred on happy occasions, like when a paper had been accepted. Other times I would draw Fred after something disappointing, like a paper rejection. At one point, my advisor suggested that I include these illustrations of Fred in my thesis, which is why I ended up including an entire appendix of Fred drawings in my thesis.
Since I tried to include both successes and failures in my thesis, I made sure to include versions of Fred that reflected success, failure, and neutral days, all of which were a part of my grad school experience.
The many moods of Fred...
Click to enlarge images to read descriptions of each of Fred's moods.
Parinaz Fathi recently completed her PhD in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois. Her research focuses on studying the interactions between nanoparticles and the lymphatic system, especially to identify and treat cancer metastases in lymph nodes. In her free time, she enjoys calligraphy, reading, and volunteering.
Fred is a Bioengineering PhD student mascot that provides comedic relief to stressed out graduate students. His claim to fame includes being featured in Parinaz Fathi’s PhD thesis. In his free time, he enjoys spa days and long walks on the beach.