Would social media help me get a postdoc position or publish a paper or speed up my lab work? Probably not. But it was a way for me to find motivation to slog through the final experiments and connect with others who were struggling through the writing stage of their dissertation. My goals of engaging in science communication and graduate student support were benefited by my presence on social media, and others with different tracks might not see that.
Launching into a brand new career in business after a decade focused on academic learning continues to throw me off. Did I really need to get a PhD in microbiology and immunology to take a part time job in marketing? Couldn’t I have just done four years in undergrad and be six years into this career, instead of just now starting out in an entry level position?
I see networking differently than most people… I actually think it’s great.
For me, networking is about finding people with whom I can get excited about things. If I’m interested in a certain topic, I want to talk to someone who knows a lot about that topic – if someone has dedicated part of their life to a topic or skills, chances are good that they want to talk about it, too.
Everyone tells you that scientific research prepares you for a wide range of careers (no just in mixing chemicals on a bench). I knew that my “soft skills” in speaking and writing would transfer into most occupations. Similarly, I’d been taught that the collaborations formed and trainees mentored reflected an ability to work at different levels of teams. Even my social media experience could be spun up as a type of marketing/PR skillset.
But here’s a new one (at least for me): fumbling through things almost blindly may be the first step to learning something.
And Nothing Teaches You This Skill Of “Failing Forward” Like Grad School.