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Science – more than just lab work?

I keep thinking back to when I started university. There was a great deal of excitement and nerves, and I really felt that once I began my four years of study, everything would fall into place. I had a great interest in what science could offer and, like many others I assume, a passion to create a positive difference in the world. I always thought that I would be content spending the rest of my life working in a lab, and that my only real option would be further study.

But I suppose things don’t always work out how you imagine they will, and in my second year of a Biotechnology degree I knew that I was not cut out for lab work. At first, having this realisation can be pretty disheartening. It’s so hard to imagine what else you can do with a science degree, and whether what you have learnt can be applied to any other job. At the halfway point of a degree, it can be a tough call to switch to a different major or program, so it’s important to explore your options first. It was at this point that I decided to attend as many events, workshops and career expos as I could, to hear from speakers in the science industry and gain insight into possible career paths. After attending my first event, Chiasma Launch, I found that my perspective on the science industry had changed and that science was much, much more than academia and research.

Even a couple of months ago, in attending a Career and Development workshop, I was reminded that my skills as a science student extend much further than just memorising complex pathways and long Latin names. Whatever degree you choose, you will gain a huge set of skills that are transferrable to any job, and the way you learn to analyse and approach different situations will be an immensely valuable tool. I know it can be so hard to see outside the world of academia when you are surrounded by it five days a week, but part of the reason I joined the team at Chiasma was because I really wanted to help other students to see that there is so much more to science than lab work. I encourage you to push yourself to attend events, workshops and career expos that might help you to gain a fresh perspective. It can be scary to attend some of these events, but talking to industry professionals and other students will give you great ideas (and great contacts!). In order to know what you want, you have to keep searching and trying, and eventually you might stumble upon it!