Way, way back at the beginning of this blog- which isn’t that long ago, when I think about it- I wrote a piece about helping people choose the right lab. It was aimed for people who were set on going into the lab environment, who may have needed some advice on practical ways of how to go about finding a lab that would best suit their interests.
The same advice still stands, for sure. The main points are outlined in that post, but I still think they’re pretty good things to consider:
- Does the project interest you?
- Do the techniques involved in the project interest you?
- Do you get along with the principal investigator/supervisor/Lab Head?
- Do you get along with potential fellow lab mates?
- Will the project stand you in good stead for future careers?
And I guess this leads me to the main point of this post, which came up while I was chatting to a former student of mine last year.
You don’t have to have everything figured out
There is no way you can meticulously plan every aspect of your life, and expect everything to go accordingly. Life is far too dynamic for that.
So if you’re not quite sure whether you’re making the ‘right’ decision… that’s okay. I think 99% of the time, life is just like that. Everything is uncertain, and it’s all just a game of probability. For someone like me, who is definitely in the ‘control freak’ category, it can be infuriating that you can’t make things happen the way you want to, but… that’s just life in general. I think the ones that succeed (in my mind) are the ones that adapt to their current situation as best as possible. You make do with the cards that you have, and that could even mean leaving that scenario and changing environments completely. It’s not running away, but moving forwards onto something else.
I guess my point is, before you go down that ‘but what if (insert bad scenario) happens??’ rabbit hole, just think- so what? At least you gave it a go? Unless that scenario is more than likely to happen, there’s no point batting away opportunities out of fear you might make some sort of ‘mistake’. It’s not a ‘mistake’ if you gave it a go. I feel like a lot of people who are moving into new chapters of their lives have a tendency to second guess themselves like that, which I would like to stress is unnecessary.
Who cares if you haven’t got a passion in life? Who cares if you don’t have career aspirations? Who cares if you don’t know where you wanna be in (insert time span)?
Sometimes you just don’t know.
So yes, that’s my point.
You don’t need to have everything figured out, you don’t need all the answers, and you don’t need to be completely under control all the time.
Because life doesn’t work like that. It’s constantly shifting and changing.
And I hope people find acceptance in that.
A Ph. D graduate in Microbiology, residing in Victoria, Australia. Currently working in multiple locations but still in the STEM field. 👀 🦠 🧫 🧬