Possibly one of the hardest parts about growing up is deciding what you want to do in life. Everything seems so simple as a kid...you go to school, you graduate, you get that long-dreamed about perfect career (usually, a doctor or an astronaut), and life goes on.
Unfortunately, when you’re actually living that time of life when you’re supposed to be deciding on career, everything becomes a little murky. Actually, more than a little murky. There are so many aspects to consider that were never conceived of as a kid.
Will I be happy in my career? Will I be fulfilled? Are my values going to be represented? Will I wake up every morning with an eagerness, or in a depressive state?
Right now, I’m doing my Masters program and trying to decide what I want to do afterwards. Initially, when I changed labs, I was convinced that I was going to transfer in the same lab and do my PhD. I loved my project...it was my baby. Once I developed it, I could not imagine passing it on to someone else. It was amazing feeling that way, but now that I am 7 months at my new lab, I find myself wondering about the right path for me.
First, I am not very convinced that I am a lab person. I cannot imagine spending hours on end at the lab, and still finding a joy in life. I’m a people person. I love social events. I love dressing up, putting on my dancing shoes, and hitting the town. Not that I’m saying lab people can’t do that...but, I think those that are dedicated to science and dying to make a great scientific discovery, don’t mind “living” in the lab. That’s not me.
Second, I can’t imagine staying in this city for the next 4 years. While this city is great for a student, I can’t imagine making a life here. I have my own place, which is awesome, as the rent is cheap and my freedom is maximised. If I was in Toronto with my apartment, I’d be paying through my nose. But I can find the freedom of my own place anywhere else. This city stinks and half the people are nutters. It’s not a place where I want to spend, and waste, my youth.
Third, I’m worried about niching myself in. If I continue in this same lab, what other opportunities am I missing out on? I want to expose myself to more science than just my little project. Sure I’ll be incredibly knowledgeable on this little piece of the science world, but what about the other areas of interest I have?
Fourth, there are so many other things I want to do in life. Isn’t RIGHT NOW the time to explore those options? What if I keep putting it off, wake up one day realising I’m 50, and haven’t accomplished anything I set out to do?
Still, I have my Masters to finish. I have less than a year to go, and now is the time for me to dedicate myself to it. Sometimes I wish it would just finish itself, but then I would be missing out on so much learning. Ahh...to be a kid again!