Although I’m still a rising junior,
I’m already deciding to take a year off after college. I need it. I need to just gather my life together after throwing myself into the sciences and getting out in pieces. Right now, I’m not sure I want to continue on this path of studying neuroscience, at least not in academic research. It’s slow, judgemental, and stifling.
I need a space where I can be creative and productive at the same time, and I need to work with people who I can connect with. I want to work with people who are just as passionate about the biological basis of neural diseases as I am. My idea lab would be a bunch of people with enough background on a subject to understand each other, but regardless of our status or experience, we treat each other and teach each other as equals. I don’t think I can find that in academia, where professors are scrambling for tenure, funding, and paper deadlines.
Yes, I will be dealing with similar things like deadlines and expectations, but I think an industry environment might be more lively. There might be clearer timelines, deadlines, and requirements, and I think a company is more open to change that an old professor stuck in his ways (mine isn’t, but I hear stories about other profs). Actually, I should take two years off before committing myself to a real career. I need two years off to get my masters and work in another lab environment. Not every school has a masters program in neuroscience, and who knows how competitive it will be. I can only hope they will take me as I am as I learn a little more everyday in lab, however painfully.
Mostly, I need space to explore. While taking classes, I can — who knows — work at Francesca’s or Khol’s or Barnes and Nobles or the library or an after school tutoring program. Being in a master’s program can help me look for something I love without feeling like I’m letting myself go (intellectually. Physically? Let’s not talk about that…).