Congratulations on PhD graduation! But what’s next?
To be frank, I do not know. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not saying I do not have life goals. In fact, I am very clear about the kind of person I want to be. I’m driven by curiosity, I like listening to people’s thoughts and ideas, and I hope to contribute my skills to make the world a better place. I want to be of some help, just do not know the exact direction to take at this very moment. Eventually, I decided to listen and learn from more people’s stories, so I launched a podcast – PassionatePhDs.
I explore the human side of PhDs – how they discover their passion, search for their life goals, and establish their philosophy. Since I began interviewing passionate PhD graduates who are now working outside academia, I have been amazed by their unique PhD journeys, words of wisdom and how PhD has shaped them into who they are now.
“You may never find the path. But you just stumble along and find things that you find interesting and all that you want to know more about but might not be, this is what I’m going to do, or this is what I gonna be,” said Dr. Salirian Claff, the first guest on PassionatePhDs.
Their words have resonated with my heart. In fact, these words have also resonated with other PhD students and graduates as well.
“PhD is not a process to limit your possibilities in the future, it should take you as an opportunity to explore the infinite possibilities for you to be in the future,” Dr. Jenny Jiang, one of the guests on PassionatePhDs.
But how can PhDs grasp these Infinite possibilities?
“I think it is so important to expose yourself to a variety of research disciplines and other opportunities because if you don’t learn more about other things that you can do with your career, you might close off of opportunities that you may find incredibly rewarding and exciting.” – Nathan Sanders, the second guest in PassionatePhDs.
“A mentor in my life really helps my career progression.” [How do you find your mentor?] “You just need to be blunt and say ‘I want to be like you!’” – Ian McDonald, the third guest in PassionatePhDs.
“You just need to try different stuffs… You may not know what you like or dislike until you try it and find out… It’s really important to have other things going on in your brain, give yourself a break from trying to bang yourself from the scientific problem that you’re having.” – Amanda Grennell, the fifth guest in PassionatePhDs.
It turns out PhD is not merely a process of digging deep into a particular subject area, it has equipped us with many soft skills and an insight to know more about our desire that hints to future career path.
So, what does a PhD mean to you? For me, it is a researching process, not only for science but researching process for my own personality, my own mission, myself. So now, I am connecting my two passion – helping others by sharing the words of wisdom from PhDs’ stories.
Creating the podcast series all by myself is certainly something that I have never thought to do. I was still researching with chemicals, test tubes and spectroscopic instrumentation a year ago but now I am interviewing these amazing PhD graduates working outside academia!
What would be the next step? What are the career options out there? What could a PhD do apart from being an academic? These are the questions I am searching for, and perhaps, many PhDs are searching too. I hope by sharing the stories of PhDs working outside academia, I could be of some help, or at least give some support to PhD students and graduates finding their career paths.
I would like to invite PhDs working outside academia to share your story and PhD journey to support and give insight to other PhDs who are still finding their directions.
If you would like to get involved and help to build PassionatePhDs, you can contact me via the form on my website.
It does not matter which area you are working in, be it the field of computer science, data industry, science communication, or administrative officer or whatever. If you are passionate about what you are doing and would like to help other PhDs in finding their directions, PassionatePhDs would love to share your story!
Author Bio: Elizabeth Lam us a chemist and science writer