Meet the blogger – Tracer Yong

Hi there, my name is Tracer Yong, I am a second-year PhD student studying tumour immunology at KI (Karolinska Institutet). It is truly an honour to meet you, and I will tell you a short story of mine.

I was born and raised in Taiwan, an island with a diverse culture and history. I grew up in the volatile 1990s, when everything was clashing: progressivism wrestled conservatism, democracy challenged nationalism, while foreign warships played hide-and-seek around us. Owing to these uncertainties, I made a safe career choice to become a medical doctor. Soon after medical school, I carried out my first research project on virology and fell in love with science. I really enjoy the process formulating and validating hypothesis, the excitement keeps me awake at night! And yes, I know many clinicians made their transition to basic research smoothly, it just wasn’t my case though. First, my parents were utterly disappointed when I revealed my sincere desire of becoming a scientist instead of a doctor. Next, I lost my partner over work which I then, ironically, lost too due to discontinued funding. It was during COVID era when social activity was unavailable, making it even unbearable. Suddenly, everyone left, all were lost and there was little help.  

Hopeless as it sounds, all these frustrations were helpful now I look back: I finally got time to scrutinise what went wrong with my life. I published my cancer vaccine project. I started to have desirable PhD interviews and I made sure I improved each time. Eventually, I got a PhD offer from KI, around which time travel restriction was lifted. Before coming to Sweden, I took a vacation in Malaysia where I had amazing food, went hiking in nature, qualified as an open water diver and spent a lot of time reading and contemplating. I will never forget the sunset in Langkawi: relaxing music at the beach, warm wave between my toes, setting sun on the horizon, strangely it felt like I went through all those ordeals only to make that moment even more perfect. It was the moment I realised my past experiences, joyful or not, endowed me with a different appreciation of life, and I must go on to share them (via blogging!). 

Well, that is it about me, hope you like it. It was genuinely nice meeting you; I hope you will enjoy my future blogging! 


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