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You Must Be Very Intelligent


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Table of Contents

Dedication.- Foreword.- Prologue.- Part I: Before.- Part II: Year 1.- Part III: Year 2.- Epilogue.

About the Author

I was born April, 1983, in a small village in the economically dead North East of the Netherlands. As a child I mainly caught frogs and leapt over ditches. When life became meaningful (though not necessarily better), I dreamt about travelling the world as a field biologist.

At the age of seventeen, I swapped village life for a university town 20 miles up the road. I matriculated at the University of Groningen and studied biology. One of the first-year courses entailed sitting for hours in dreary drizzle to watch geese pick grass. Unfortunately, I felt slightly bored and wet and steered my studies towards microbiology which, thankfully, entailed a roof over my head during experiments. Six amiable years later, blurred by pub visits and lengthy 'work' sojourns in China and Spain, I graduated with an MSc in molecular biology and was increasingly gripped by science.

Having acquired a taste for travel and cultural enrichment, and perhaps a bizarre yearning to return to drizzle, I moved to the wonderful, historic city of Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, to start my PhD. Despite a ludicrous intake of Irn Bru (a chemical drink unique to Scotland) along with mountainous amounts of fried pizza and dubious frat-ish parties, I successfully defended my thesis in 2011.

Feeling like a lost soul, I backpacked round South America, not knowing what would or should come next. But something had to, because I ran out of money, so I started my first 'real' job, at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. Having re-stocked my pocket, and feeling sufficiently proficient in the academic world, I quit a year later. In 2012, I co-founded the company NaturalScience.Careers. In 2015, I published my first book (a career guide for female natural scientists). <

These days, I give soft skill and career seminars to young scientists, and I'm often invited to speak at natural science events. I write short stories, career columns and opinion pieces for magazines like Chemistry World, Naturejobs, Laborjournal and Nachrichen aus der Chemie. With my partner Philipp and our two sons, I live in Munich, where I spend much time wondering what to do next.

You can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn.


"A new novel about academic life is not a ringing endorsement, to say the least. But it will make you laugh. And that's the point." (Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, February, 2018)

"The story is immersive, and I felt like I was there with our hero every step of the way." (Chemistry World,, January 2018)"Karin Bodewits' partly autobiographic book 'You must be very intelligent - The PhD Delusion' is a revealing, tongue in cheek tale about PhD life." (Ulrike Trager, Metior Magazine, November, 2017)"PhD novel is 'wake-up call' on supervisor-student 'power plays'" (Times Higher Education, November, 2017)

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