Anyone here in science/academia?

  • Hi all,

    Has anyone here on the forums managed to make it through grad school and establish themselves in science/academia, or know someone they could put me in contact with who has? A bunch of personal shit just started happening all in a row back home that's making me question my career path, and I'd like some sort of impartial perspective, if such a thing exists. I just don't really trust my committee (mainly my advisor) here to tell me anything other than what they think I want to hear. They're great at science, but I'm not as sure about personal stuff with them.

  • Not sure if it's the same line of science but I'm a surgeon (MD) and also have a master's in public health so if that's helpful to you, feel free to message me

  • @Ozymandsss what surgical specialty did you train in?

    @naltmank My mother is a professor of biomedical engineering and is 20+ years into her academic career. May not be super relevant to where you are now but may give you some insights into how things could look into the future. Drop me a line if you think that'd be useful. I myself cannot stand the life and struggle of academic science, the constant grind for grants and politics of university structures. Having said that there's plenty of politics that I despise in my current job too so I guess you can't ever really run from that

  • @Mango I am a trauma and general surgeon for the US Navy and Marine Corps. I do most everything, from major trauma cases, advanced laparoscopic surgery, to bread and butter general surgery like hernias and breast cancer etc. I enjoy it but def doesn't leave as much time for gaming as I used to have. At least, not during civilized hours...

  • Thanks for hitting me back guys! Full disclosure: I wrote that post when I was pretty much hitting rock bottom, and am actually doing a lot better now. I'm still having the same doubts, but there's enough here to keep my dropping out... for now. My main concern kind of lies with any specialized field, I guess: I'm worried about not having a say in where I end up, since I will pretty much have to follow the grant money/research wherever it takes me. Like I mentioned above, I missed some pretty major stuff back home that happened with some family/friends, including a death. Just not sure it's worth it to keep going down this path if it means I can't be there for the people I care about.

  • @naltmank Glad to hear you are doing better. I know all about the sacrifices you are describing. Not only am I surgeon which consumed all sorts of time, but I am active duty navy and stationed overseas. I missed my grandmother's passing away. I have missed major events in my mother's illness etc.

    I am constantly engaged in a "is it worth it?" war with myself. Ultimately, if you believe in science (and medicine, in my case) you have to believe that the potential benefit to others outweighs the personal sacrifices to you and your family. If//when you start to suspect that this is no longer the case, that the personal costs outweigh the benefit to society, then its time to get out.

  • @ozymandsss thank you, man, that's pretty much exactly what I needed to hear. Combining a couple threads here, it's really heartening to hear that an active navy surgeon can still have a family and hobbies outside of their profession. Also, thank you for your service!

  • @Ozymandsss that's awesome man, Military trauma surgery sounds like the last bastion of actual general surgery. I work as an anesthetist myself and while I'd like to say I'm busy it's not anywhere near Surgeon busy.

    @naltmank, I'm glad you're in a better place, life catches us off guard most of the time. I used to think that never being caught off gaurd meant that you had it all figured out and that you had finally "made it" whatever that means but in retrospect I think its about how you handle yourself during these times of trails and tribulations that speaks more to whether or not you've got life figured out. @Ozymandsss hit it on the head I with his suggestion, the only thing I'll add is that I used to think at some point you become "pot comitted" so to speak and that I would somehow end up in a job I didn't like as a result. This is so far from the truth! It's never to late to change directions, even at the end of a road. Hope it all works out for you.