by summerstudent Attia Arooj
No great things come easily in your life, so as this summer program at HZB. From visa problems as a non european student to accommodation in a crowded city like Berlin, I faced it all.
But the real challenge started when I got to see my work place. It was a “Physics” Lab or more technically called Magnetic Resonance Lab equipped with NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) and EPR (Electron Paramagnetic Resonance) spectrometers. Being a chemist, working in a physics lab was totally new to me. Since college I had always a fear towards this subject which made me run away from it, my whole life. But now, it was in front of me as a challenge.
Facing the challenge
And, I had to face it, embrace it, and learn the best from it. Right now, I am working on Dynamic Nuclear Polarization technique. It is used to enhance the sensitivity of NMR and widely used for early diagnosis of diseases, and drug discovery. I am really enjoying learning this new field and hope to achieve interesting results.
Fighting other fears
Apart from a great learning experience in my professional life, this summer program also confronted me with the task of fighting my inner fear of dogs. The story begins, when I got an invitation from my host family’s parents. Knowing my fear, with the invitation they mentioned the dog, Leo.
Upon listening to this, a number of thoughts were bumping into my head: “How will I face the dog? Should I refuse? And what if I would be able to overcome my fear, for in order to fight against something you must face it first”. Yes, I nodded.
Leo, the giant dog
So on the weekend, I along with my host family arrived at their parents’ home. It was really heartwarming to have a family away from home. At that moment, I felt blessed. But the next moment, I saw a dog, about half my height.
At first he seemed excited, but I felt his excitement turn to fear in the very next moment. He was a bit furious too. As I wear a veil, he may be thought, “what kind of human is she? I haven’t seen like that before”. In fact, at this point, we both were afraid of each other. He was jumping here and there, panting and I was feeling very much under pressure. But seeing him distress made me uncomfortable and then I gathered all courage and I let him sniff me. So, he could recognize me a safe zone. This was the time, I felt fearless and calm. By the end of the day, Leo and I became good friends.
Lastly, I would say this summer program was a life changing experience both professionally and personally. It helped me build my confidence and made me realize that I am stronger than my fears.
About the author:
Attia is a student of Organic chemistry at Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary. She comes originally from Pakistan. Her summer student project in the team of Dr. Joesph McPeak at HZB is about the evaluation of the potential use of Lanthanide complexes for Dynamic Nuclear Polarization enhancement.