Once upon a time I started my studies in a Highly Promising Life-Sciences Programme, at my country’s Oldest and Best University. All that to the joy of my parents, who always said I should study whatever I love, but were nevertheless concerned with whether it will generate my daily bread.
So there I was, ready to get my Degree and land some Excitedly-Hyped Life Sciences-Related Job, which the Highly Promising Programme highly promised, even if I had little idea what that was supposed to be. (Years later, I have as little idea, only now we call it “Industry”).
But my fate was never to be fulfilled, because the Oldest and Best Universitites have this magical power of broadening your perspectives and changing your mindset. Or they have some good science going on and give you the bug as early as your Master project.
And so, while in my first naive years of studentship I cherished people with PhD degrees as some unreachable (and sporadically unbearable) geniuses, towards the end of the journey I was quite sure of two things: 1) some PhDs are far from being a genius, and 2) I’d like to get me a PhD too.
I briefly visited a couple of Foreign Labs for CV-Boosting and Tears-Squeezing (3 months of Western blotting and I won’t write a paper??!) Internships, did some solid Master research, graduated my Oldest and Best University, and embarked on my PhD adventure…
…what happens in Mordor, stays in Mordor. (We’ve all been there and we’ve all seen it. Tear-Squeezing Internships seem kindergarten afterwards).
Jokes aside, I did it all for love. Of science. But as fascinated and naive as I was at the beginning, and disillusioned at the end (which is the way love often evolves, of science in particular), I have always tried to keep my mind open. Make myself informed of alternatives. I visited career events, went to workshops praising my transferable skills, scratched a tad upon writing. But I always found myself returning. To the lab. To the familiar. To the… safe. I always remained fascinated by my projects, high after an exciting conference, thrilled giving talks, and even occasionally relaxed by a quiet evening of lonesome pipetting… And no matter how excitedly I saw myself in a role of scientific writer or a project manager, at the end of the day I’d often feel more excited about the academic science after all.
And so I rolled through the ups and downs of my PhD life with little idea where else to roll on. And all the good intentions of taking perspective, of cool judgment and career planning, went to hell one random evening when I procrastinately opened my ResearchGate account only to notice a job. A challenging job. A cool job. A “pretty much the dream job” for me back then, featuring all the things I wanted to learn and do next.
A post-doc job.
My current job.
And so, it’s Still Science. It’s Science Actually. It’s Science Anyways.