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Student seeking help and direction

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Student seeking help and direction

Postby Eulet Gore » Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:49 pm

Good evening all,

I am a Junior Physics major at the University of the District of Columbia. I want to ask what things I should be doing now in order to have a sucessful career in science. I have not had any research or lab experience other than my undergraduate lab course and I have two years experience working in a semiconductor cleanroom operating the machines. I do feel that I would enjoy working in a lab doing research, but I have had the hardest time finding any kind of employment to actually see what I would and would not like to do. I have a few interests to include nanotechnology, space, and medical/health physics, but those options are limited due to the schools in the area. It seems my best option is to do summer internships, but currently I am not in a situation where I can just go to school or relocate. I wanted to ask what advice you have for me. I have noticed on the forums that mostly everyone is pursuing or already have an advanced degree, so am I asking this question in the wrong place, is there somewhere else where I can maybe get some mentoring, or is there a section for undergraduate students? Thank you
Eulet Gore
 

Student seeking help and direction

Postby Val » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:14 pm

> I have noticed on the forums that mostly
> everyone is pursuing or already have an
> advanced degree, so am I asking this question
> in the wrong place, is there somewhere else
> where I can maybe get some mentoring, or is
> there a section for undergraduate students?

The hardest problems in scientists' careers start after their PhDs are obtained, not in their undergraduate years or not even during PhD studies. People who get through PhD are already toughened by the harsh environment and have gone through attrition. Many of them are crumbling under the pressure of problems which they face at later (after-PhD) stages of their scientific career. They come to forums to vent their anger and get advice. So if you think you have problems as a junior undergrad -- you do not have them.

Whatever happens to a scientist (which, of course, is out of his control), he lumps it together and calls it "career".

Regards,
Val
(who has his tongue in the cheek)
User avatar
Val
 
Posts: 535
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Student seeking help and direction

Postby Andy » Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:09 pm

Eulet,

One thing you can be sure about in science: You will meet a lot of people with an attitude like Val's. Science is a rewarding but sometimes hard road, but keep a positive attitude (even though all of us will sometimes feel like Val); the alternative is not pleasant.

Since you are an undergraduate, I would recommend volunteering in a research laboratory (NIH, universities in the D.C. area, or at companies). You really need that experience to see if you like it and to give you some background for the next step. Whatever interests you, there is probably a professor or company nearby who would love to have an enthusiastic young scientist help them out. You may get rejected sometimes, but keep at it. Look on web pages of physics departments describing their faculty's research.

And best of luck to you!

Andy
Andy
 


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