There is no week, literally no week, since the beginning of the year, without discussions about what life will be after obtaining the PhD degree. Most of my friends started their PhD around the same time then me, and we are all reaching this phase of starting to think about what’s next. So here are some of the options:
– The obvious (and easiest ?): Do a post-doc.
It’s an attractive option for many reasons: staying in academia (and enjoying it’s perks), starting a fresh and exciting new project, getting more experienced, gaining and sharing knowledge, teaching, travelling, meeting new people, and so on …But: 1 out of 10 post-docs (at the best) will make it in academia. So, why not make an exit earlier, and not risk being disappointed, discouraged, frustrated, jaded, and rejected by a ruthless academic world.
– Plan B’s
First, I guess they should be called plan A’s, since they concern most of PhD students. There are lots of things to do: Research and development in industry, science communication, teaching, project management. Science policy, global health. But also, owning a bar, a restaurant, a bakery, a bed and breakfast, a travel agency, a book store. Raising goats and making your own cheese.
I have plan B’s and plan A’s. And no idea what will happen (I mean, who does, really ?)
I enjoy research right now, which is easy to say when things go well, and when hard work is decently appreciated. So why not continue with a post-doc and go for it. Academia. I’d love to have my own fly lab some day. With an awesome fly room, full of flies, books, drawings, discussions, crossing schemes, and laughs. I have a picture of this in my head. But sometimes, luck can fail you. Life might get in the way. So, you can only hope for the best. Especially do your best, and never regret not giving it your best shot.
Closed doors generally open new ones. A this stage, i think it’s important to at least think about those things. Develop other skills. Writing this blog, developing the lab’s website, tweeting, made me realize I like that kind of stuff. I love making my powerpoint slides and telling people what I do. All these skills I develop “on the side” might become truly useful someday.
Well, that was a short summary of things that go trough our minds these days. Nothing deep or insightful, but I guess i needed to write it down.