Hello there bloggies!
For this week’s Science Sunday, I think I am going to get a little personal and bit self-reflective. You all have been warned!
When I started my research career as a freshman in college, I was so excited by the notion of scientific discovery. During my undergrad years, I had the chance to work in two labs at my universities (one of the PIs left the university for another after my freshman year) and at an internship for 2 summers. I got to work on clinical projects, learn bench and analytical techniques, gain experience writing and presenting, and go to conferences.
I enjoyed it so much that I applied and went to grad school for my PhD. I wanted my career to be all about research. And that’s what my life was all about research and more research. It was exciting! I was surrounded by incredibly hard-working, bright people who cared about science just as much as me. This is what I was good at and what I wanted to do.
At least, that is what I thought. Throughout my last year of grad school and continuing into this first year of my postdoc though, my passion for science and research has been waning. I’m no longer as excited to head into the lab everyday and solve these incredibly complex problems. The excitement of working toward impossible solutions is gone.
It goes without saying that research is a tough career to work in. It requires a strong will, determination, crazy working hours, and all of it for usually not a lot of typical compensation (promotion, pay, bonuses, etc.) you see in other fields. The main compensation comes from the work itself. The thrill of figuring out an experiment, the freedom of working on your scientific questions of interest, and the joy of sharing your work with the rest of the scientific community.
I have felt all of these things. Those are what kept me going on those frustrating nights in the lab. That’s why I wanted to become a researcher. But, I don’t feel those anymore and to be frank I’m not sure why.
Maybe I’ve just become jaded and bored after my ten years in research? I don’t think that’s necessarily it.
Do I not love science anymore? I’ve asked my self that over and over again. I refuse to believe it. I’ve spent too much time diving into these areas to not love science. Although, I do find myself not caring about exciting new papers or presentations. Maybe I need a break from science? That can work with real relationships sometimes.
Do I need a shift in the current way I work? I definitely think this is true. I think I need a change. I miss feeling dynamic and passionate about my work. I love to work hard and long hours. I want to be excited again. This change may be a new job or a new sort of position within research. I’m not entirely sure.
Thank you for stopping by Science Sunday? Don’t worry, next week I’ll make sure not to be so personal and self-reflective. How do you all feel about getting in science funks or feeling passionless? Comment below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.
See you all for Trainee Tuesday.