Read our COVID-19 research and news.

a singer performing in front of a microphone

Singer-songwriter John K. Samson reflects on the postdoc experience in his new single.

Credit: Martin Cathrae/Flickr

Soundtrack of our (academic) lives

The postdoctoral training period can be a mixed bag, sometimes rosy and sometimes bleak. To wrap up this year’s National Postdoc Appreciation Week, here’s a musical take. “Postdoc Blues,” the latest single from Canadian singer-songwriter John K. Samson, follows the failed presentations and bumbling “dongles, sweat stains, and stares” that can bring down morale. But it’s OK, the song goes on: “I believe in you and your PowerPoints,” Samson sings. Remember that wanting to make an impact is what initially got you on your path, he continues. But the clock is ticking, the song reminds gently, so don’t drag your feet for too long: “Your day is short. You can’t afford to wait.”

If you want to hear more, academic life gets another look in “When I Write My Master’s Thesis,” from Samson’s 2012 album. Yes, distractions like video games may be more enjoyable than writing, but think about what you have to look forward to once you’re finished, Samson strums. “No more marking first-year papers. No more citing sources.” And for a truly epic finale: “Greet me with banners and balloons, and my hard drive smashed to pieces.”