Suggestions? What's recommended next step?

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Suggestions? What's recommended next step?

Postby W. Near » Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:15 pm

Hi, I am finishing my Phd the end of this year, but I have no interest for the topics in my field any more, and I think I am not qualified in this field. When I was doing my master, I worked on electronic engineering, but during the Phd, I changed my research direction completely, it is ophthalmology! It takes me two years to clarify my project and it is really painful, I am not even confident for my knowledge in this field until now. For the three years of my Phd, I was always preparing and doing experiments, I have no contact with researchers from outside universities. For the postdoc, I want to change to another field, such as applied ophthalmology which could really help patients instead of doing idiot cognitive experiments everyday. Is it possible? Can I be accepted with these twist experiences?
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Re: Suggestions? What's recommended next step?

Postby John D. D, » Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:50 pm

One thing that you might try is to look through potential jobs in your field of interest, and then pick 4 or so, to contemplate. Once that is done, look at what you are doing currently, and try to incorporate into the last stage of your Ph.D. a middle step toward one of these 4 jobs. In your case, going from cognitive studies in ophthalmology to applied ophthalmology is a little tricky because to work with people you generally have to have an MD. One example might be to try to incorporate a study on how errors in perception of sight change with vision correction. You would have to find an MD currently doing a study, add the appropriate cognitive questions to the study, and then maybe look at how cognition changes as first one eye and then the other is treated.

Try to at least initiate the shift toward the new field while in the old field, even if you can't completely incorporate it into your thesis. Another possibility would be to attend a meeting where you could meet more people. Go to their posters and try to discuss what you know how to do relative to what they (in your field of interest) are doing. See if you can propose experiments.
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Re: Suggestions? What's recommended next step?

Postby PG » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:06 pm

For someone to feel uncertain about their skills and questioning whether they are actually qualified to do whatever it is that they either are doing or want to do is perfectly normal and something that probably most of us go through at some point in our careers. As you mention this is often created by having limited contacts with anyone outside the sometimes very small group were you are for example doing your PhD training. However that small group also makes being an expert in this field something normal which isnt the case in the real world. Try to identify a few people who are working with something that you would like to be doing in the future and approach them for a discussion about if they think that it is possible for you to enter that area and what you should potentially be thinking about learning or doing to get there. Importantly talk with more than one person and then create your own opinion from what you have learned.
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