A reflexion about my first semester at the Toxicology programme

Welcome back to my blog! First of all I want to wish you all a happy 2020 and I hope that 2019 had been a very nice and productive year. This time I am going to discuss briefly and in a very personal way how this first semester of my master’s programme was and how it felt. I hope that this little reflexion about my experiences as first year student at this programme helps you to have an idea of how being tox student feels.

Expectations vs Reality

I must admit that since I started my very first day at the Toxicology programme until this day, the way I see and feel the programme has changed. This means that some of my expectations were different to what I awaited, but it is normal to always expect things from new places and experiences right? In my particular case, from this programme I was expecting it to be a little bit easier, more flexible and differently organized.

The reality is that there were many things that caught me by surprise and others that were completely new to me. Example of this is on how formal and serious the procedure for taking an exam is. This is because every time there is exam, you take it in a special room for examinations in which there is always someone watching over you in order to avoid cheating among students. Also, before taking it you need to read all the instructions carefully, leave your belongings and bring an official ID.

Another example is the type of questions in the exams, especially those ones in the second course (upcoming course review). In a written examination with open questions I would usually expect questions in which you have to remember concepts, definitions, molecules, etc. In these types of questions you have not only to learn the concepts but also to apply those to a specific case. The problem is that sometimes these questions can be very tricky and easy to mistake.

“Credits: Marvin Meyer”

What did I learn?

During this first semester I learned many things which were not only related to academic stuff. I learned to tolerate frustration better, to handle stress slightly better and to study in group with friends, something that I have never ever done before. I reaffirmed that even if you love your programme sometimes it will make you suffer and maybe even hate it momentarily.  I also learned that when you are passing thru a lot you just have to give yourself some space and time to clear the mind. My head is now full with many toxic mechanisms and adverse outcomes in diverse organs, which honestly was a tough process to go thru but was worth it, because it changed my way to see Toxicology and the programme itself.

Concluding hallmarks

To finalize this blog I would like to give some advices and thoughts regarding my own experiences:

  • Always study hard, the lectures, your notes and everything else you feel is necessary to be ready for the exam
  • If the result is not what you expected, do not worry and do not be sad that does not mean that you are not good at something
  • Exams do not always reflect all the potential a student might have, they are just one more examination tool
  • It is totally valid to have expectations, but remember that usually the reality is different and it tends to be very nice
  • Do not let stress dominate your lifestyle, remember that outside your academic life you have also your own and personal life
  • Always try to be positive

“Credits: Aaron Burden”

I finally will say that in despite of there have been some rough moments during the semester my love and passion for the programme has not changed and I just want to keep learning and preparing myself to be a good toxicologist

Remember that this blog and the advices have been based on my own experience at the Toxicology programme, who knows… maybe you will experience different things and sensations.



If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me and if you want to discover more about the contents and description of the programme you can visit the Toxicology programme website and read my tox blogs!


Aline Colonnello: gloria.aline.colonnello.montero@stud.ki.se

Aline Colonnello - Toxicology

Aline Colonnello - Toxicology

My name is Aline Colonnello Montero, I am twenty five years old and I come from the wonderful but busy Mexico City. I consider myself to be a perseverant person who works hard to meet all my goals and ambitions. I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology and I currently study the Master’s programme in Toxicology at Karolinska Institutet. My job as part of the digital ambassadors’ team consists on writing blogs


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