Future of our Children

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Future of our Children

Postby Carlysle » Fri Dec 31, 2004 12:14 pm

"So you went to graduate school, yet, dropped out of the academic
environment to job related to bioscience but not in bioscience?

So your experience suggests that bio science was a good path or a less than
good path.. Please elaborate."

I am not sure if you have completely understood my post. As it stands, I
completing my graduate studies--I will graduate in 2005. My experience as a
student is unique because I am at a research institution, as well as a
traditional university--at the same time. Thus, I have learned about how
each functions and the expectations of both. As most posters have mentioned,
the graduate school process is seen as a "Road to Perdition." Certainly, the
stories and experiences I have heard and had could also be printed in
another thesis beyond the one I am completing. Only one professor (in a
Physical science field) warned me about going to grad school without taking
some time off after undergrad, but perhaps the ego drives you through the
first year and then you have to at once realize your strengths and
boundaries. Again, these are not the lessons you are going be fed with a
silver spoon in the program. I have been reading Micella Phoenix de Whyse on
Nextwave with vigor, as her story is representative of my story and many
other students whom I know.

Out of my graduating class, I think that there were three students moving
into the life sciences for their Ph.Ds (directly following graduation). I am
the last one standing. I do know that some have gone on to B-School, but
without prior knowledge at the advanced level of science and experience, the
opportunities are not so rich. There are so many people hoping to make the
lateral switch into these fields and the degree itself is not the visa for
job entry. One still needs experience, stamina, and above all, patience.

As the world becomes ever so much more integrated, the way we view our
disciplines will also change. Interconnected thoughts and ideas will be
required for everyday problem solving and a simple list of FAQs will not
necessarily be able to answer the complexity of these questions. I would say
that the direction of medicine and business in the future will become
dependent on this way of thinking--that there may in fact be series of
sub-algorithms defining our actions, but not necessarily ones that dictate
gross patterns of behavior. We are coming to a time of individual-based
marketing and medicine; each case will be different. Thus, as I mentioned
before, let the creative pursuit in someone drive the career direction and
the job shall follow.

Future of our Children

Postby Bill L. » Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:17 pm

Hi P. Christopher,

I thought I'd pipe in because I worked at both Mt. Hokyoke and Amherst Colleges. I do find that both institutions are excellent in terms of the career exploration support that they offer to students who seek it out.

That is is to say, they offer four years of personal counseling, workshops, informational sessions, books, and access to alumni contacts to help students explore the range of career opportunities of, for example, an English major. Or going pre-med. They'll also help you discover the pros and cons of deciding to major in biology because one day you'd like to be an academic scientist. And they back it up with interactive learning opportunities about issues like resume writing, informational interviewing and presentation skills, applying to graduate school, etc.

I think that if you're going to pay $42,000 a year to a college, part of the benefit is the ability to sit down with a professional and say: talk with me about where I am in determining and aliging my professional goals with my personal values and academic pursuits. What are my options and how can I get the skills I need to succeed in that arena.

But students need to introduce themselves to a career counselor in their first year, not their last year, to really benefit from these services and resources. In many cases the counseling staff in the career centers overlapped with other responsibilities: for example, being the pre-law or pre-med dean, study abroad advisor, or international fellowship advisor. So one way or another, your relatives will probably interact with the Career Center staff.

Just my two cents.

Naledi S.

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Future of our Children

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Jan 04, 2005 12:09 pm


As a counselor yourself, perhaps you may know the answer to this. I have always wondered why students in college, whether undergrad or in grad school, rarely access the services provided by their university's Career Center. I have met a lot of great people over the years who really care about their young people, and they offer great advice.

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Future of our Children

Postby Gregg » Tue Jan 04, 2005 12:31 pm

Somebody recently said to me "Nobody goes to medical school anymore with the intention of practicing medicine." I guess he meant that people do it so they can be part of the health care industry.

Future of our Children

Postby Bill L. » Tue Jan 04, 2005 12:51 pm


I agree that there are a number of students pursuing medical careers who are shocked (and unhappy) to discover the ways that the clinical experience has changed. Many people get into medicine with the idea of caring for people, and perhaps also having a financially stable career (thinking, after all, that there will also be people in need of medical care).

So they are surprised when they find that their salaries, in relation to their academic financial debt and the cost of their practice, isn't enough to live the life that they expected. Also, they are stressed by the high number of patients they need to see in a day to pay the bills. Lastly, the level of paperwork just frustrates them.

I think that the legend persists that medicine, law and business (and perhaps science), are the careers that have stability, security, prestige, etc. and are overall 'worthwhile investments', for the, say $42,000 annual tuition to university X. However that's just not always the case.

Bill L. & Naledi S.
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Future of our Children

Postby Emil Chuck » Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:28 am


This is my sole opinion, and I hope I don't get in trouble for anything I say in response to your question: "I have always wondered why students in college, whether undergrad or in grad school, rarely access the services provided by their university's Career Center."

I can only answer for myself, but I have my own theory about it. Actually a few. First I think that most students view the Career Counselor like they did their High School Counselor. The idea is "They're useful when you need them, but if you're smart, you won't need them at all." There's also the notion that students procrastinate and don't like to think about their futures until they have to (summer jobs, job applications, etc.), and of course by then it probably is too late.

I think overall, students don't really appreciate the resources a school has while they're students. Unless it's something that the students really "must have" such as dorm space, food (drink :) ), and books/computers, it's not considered important enough to use.

Now for graduate students, I think it's a different matter. Many graduate students I think do use the career center... when they decide they don't want to be in an academic environment. But when it comes to writing CV's, resumes, or doing talks, they train from among themselves (i.e., their labmates). Career development is primarily peer-directed rather than "coach"-directed in graduate school since people usually don't try to wander much outside the lab or one's department (generalizing tongue-in-cheek).

I like the idea of making sure that every day you do one thing that improves the job search you do tomorrow. That includes attending programs regarding one's career choices or scheduling personal appointments as needed. Heck, athletes don't improve if they decide to hit the weight room a month before a competition, so the idea of disciplined long-term thinking to attain one's goals needs to be emphasized early.
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