Sign in


Chinese transplant carving a space in the Western world

Well, here goes my face.

Hi there:)

My name is Lishu, and I am a third-year Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Pharmacology & Toxicology. My research is centered in the field of cancer epigenetics, more specifically epigenetic therapies for pancreatic cancer.

But you already knew that from just my Medium profile.

So, who exactly am I?

How I got here

I was born and raised in China, a country that needs no introduction.

Compared to many of my peers, I led an unconventional educational path that landed me in the United States. Quite a whirlwind it was! For the story of my journey…

I am bearing a target on my back not for the errors I’ve made in my life, but for my genetics, for my culture, for my heritage

Photo by Sushil Nash on Unsplash

(Side note: my parents don’t understand English well, but you bet I will be translating this letter full in Mandarin and sending it their way.)

Hi Ma and Pa-

How time flies. 2021 will mark the 7th year I’ve been living almost full-time in the United States pursuing my various degrees. On January 6, the Americans were going about their electoral procedure to hopefully put a whirlwind of 4 years behind. Other than the rather ideological significance, it was supposedly a normal day.

Until it wasn’t.

On January 6, I logged on to Twitter to pure terror — to individuals…

A fictional exercise

Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

In the living room, Eddie was gathering the last of the food supplies and throwing them into a big fabric bag slumping next to the front door. His lean figure was obscured to a gray swatch in the shades with his faded Levi’s, dust-tinted sneakers, and ill-fitting stone-colored jacket that squeaked to his movements. In the bedroom, Eddie had earlier sprawled everything all over the bed — he always packed by stuffing everything into whatever luggage he was taking. It was quite a feat to be proud of.

At the other end of the bedroom, there was Sara. She was…

And with them, make the best of the worst situations.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

First of all, happy 2021!

While many of us had been more than ready to throw 2020 in the trash and welcome 2021 with open arms, I find myself pausing a whole lot and thinking back through those moments I wish we would never return to.

As we were forced to slow down and be shut in with our own thoughts, reflection has held special importance amongst the chaos. As we close in on the brink of a new normal, parts of the pandemic will forever stick with us.

Despite how much you want to forget this hellhole of a…

Here’s how you can do the same for a better year ahead.

Photo by the author.

2020, what a year.

In that short time span, we went through a quarantine-heavy pandemic, a loss of more than a million global citizens, an unprecedented but much-needed racial reckoning in the United States, a total revamp of how learners around the world access knowledge, and the most important of all, a test of human resilience through difficult times.

This shitshow of a year has turned me into the absolute personification of a potato. And as a graduate student whose research was thrown into disarray, I, for one, need to reset myself for a clean slate to take on the new year now that…

Testing out short-form publication:)

Last night, a casual dinner conversation between my boyfriend and me quickly turned into a full-blown existential crisis. The unknowns of my PhD career, the isolation…

Ah, the sweet struggles of graduate school

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

Are you thinking about getting a graduate degree in life sciences and wondering what a day in that life is like?

Well, here is a day in my life as a Ph.D. student in pharmacology & toxicology.

I should preface this by saying that this is one of the many bad days I’ve had in 2020, but 2020 has been like a roller coaster for everyone. By no means is this an ideal or typical day. I hope, by sharing this, to offer a glimpse into the struggles of a Ph.D. …

Random thought #3

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

Afternoon, Wednesday, September 9.

I was working on a section of a review article I had promised my PhD mentor by Friday. It was just an ordinary day — slightly rainy and cool outside, but perfect cozy indoors for a work session curled up in my armchair with a cup of blistering hot tea.

Then, my phone rang. It was a college friend I hadn’t talked to on the phone since we both graduated in 2018. …

The unexpected benefits from training as a beginner runner

Photo by Andrea Leopardi on Unsplash

If you’ve read my previous experiment, where I tracked every minute of my life for 5 months, you may have noticed that I enjoy methodically ‘torture’ myself to optimize my time and way of life. Hah! Just kidding — I experimented with different techniques on myself because I needed to know how best to distribute time and energy for my career goals. Right now, it’s getting my PhD. Doing a PhD is always a marathon, not a sprint.

This time, I tried and was able to sustain the habit of running…

Random thought #2

Photo by Sidney Severin on Unsplash

I’ve been hyping myself up to tell my boyfriend that I love him. Both of us grew up in incredibly traditional, conservative Asian families. To this day, despite how overflowing I was with emotions, I have yet said those three magic words to anyone.

Strange, now that I think about it, I have not ever even told my parents I loved them. Don’t judge, but just thinking about saying it out loud embarrasses me. It always came down to the long-lasting undermining of emotional bonds in Chinese families. Nothing is set in stone, but everyone still each…


Perfecting my English one day at a time. 3rd-year PhD student in the field of cancer epigenetics. Writing whenever & whatever I can:)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store