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The perpetual trainee – A senior’s perspective on the 2014 PICH Institute

August 5th, 2014

Written by: Manon Ranger

As a more senior, or should I say experienced, PICH trainee I would like to share my impressions of our last PICH Institute in beautiful and windy Quebec city. I had the privilege to attend many PICH Institutes but every time I continue to learn more about pain, research, other trainees/researchers projects, life lessons, and even myself. PICH is a unique forum that brings together passionate overachieving scholars. When Nikita wrote about her “Imposter Syndrome” as a first-time PICHER, I recalled exactly how it felt… and must say that this feeling never goes away! At each meeting, I think: “OMG this person is so smart and talented, he/she has accomplished so much in so little time… He/she is not even 30!” As the Institute evolves and as conversations flow, this feeling is replaced by excitement and appreciation that, actually, we all feel like that. Thus, I always leave the meeting with my head full of ideas, a great sense of enthusiasm, and eagerness to continue my research and to push myself. This time around was no exception!

I still cannot believe how much fun I had at the CPS and PICH meetings. Don’t get me wrong, I did learn a lot and met brilliant researchers BUT I needed a vacation when I came back to Vancouver. From our full conference days to late nights dancing the night away, I returned home with many great memories. It seemed that all PICHers (including PIs and alumni) were so energized and upbeat. Although we were fairly drained after the CPS conference, our energy got a boost with the inspiring and charismatic Lorimer (i.e. Fireside Chat). Through his life story, we learned that we all have a path to follow and were reminded of the need to be open to U-turns, dead-ends, roundabouts, and speed limits. The Neuroscience full day lectures were very exciting; new research questions, projects, and even possible collaborations arose. As clinical researchers, we must leave our comfort zone, think outside the box, and reach out to basic science colleagues. The day ended with a bang! The murder mystery 80’s party was unreal… lots of talented actors, hair/make-up artists and costume designers were revealed. Finally, the evening ended with PICHers taking over the dance floor in Quebec City in our 80s outfits!

Thank you to the PICH organizers, PIs, alumni and trainees for making this meeting so exciting and special. Until our next Institute, take it from an “oldie”: “life is like research, you never know what to expect, you just have to seize the opportunities when they present themselves. We are all amazing and talented individuals!”

Manon - Photo