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Scientist

Second Transformers film rocked! I really enjoyed it! A vast improvement on the first film, which didn't really impress me.

Well just a day left until I move to Birmingham. It's both exciting and nerve-racking. I can't wait to go! I'll have my own studio apartment and finally get to do some real science! :D I haven't had much time to read up for the project, which makes me feel bad but what could I do? House hunting consumed my life. I feel restless, most likely because of the excitment, which probably brought on my rant:

I’m sick of the attitude a lot of graduates have of thinking careers should be handed to them on a plate! Too many people assume simply doing well on a degree will get them a good job or onto a PhD. It’s not as simple as that anymore. Increasing numbers of PhD ask for master degrees. A friend who wants to do a PhD in public health told me one PhD she saw actually asked for a master in the subject. Which meant as she had a master in biology, she couldn’t apply! Ok getting a master is expensive and hard work, but it definitely gave me the edge when it comes to finding work, as it included a lot of practical experience which is otherwise is hard to get. As in order to get this experience in work, you normally have to have it already.... It also gave me more specific expertise in my field.

But it’s possible to get experience outside of uni during your BSc. When I told people at my previous job that more undergrads should seek lab work during their degree, they started getting defensive, talking over me constantly that they needed the time to study while I told them that most of my experience was during my holidays: Xmas, Easter and a studentship during the summer holiday. During the Easter holiday I came in when it suited me as my boss understood I needed the time to revise for exams. Otherwise I volunteered every Wednesday afternoon during term time from October in my second year. I may had not got onto the studentship if it wasn’t for my volunteering and paid holiday work I did beforehand, which I got just by sending an email to the John Innes Centre asking if they needed help. A friend of mine was getting concerned during our third year that she needed work experience, so I advised her to do the same. She did and soon got work as well. It’s as simple as that. Straight out of uni I already could list this on my CV, whereas most undergrads leave with nothing but practical experience in uni to list, which isn’t taken as seriously as it’s rather spoon-fed and there isn’t the pressure to get results as it’s often sub-standard...

I started low, with just photographing Arabidopsis flowers, measuring plant size and compiling a database. But in my studentship, the skills were stepped up, to DNA extraction, PCR, media making and bioinformatics. My MSc dissertation involved similar techniques, but with studying with more samples, reserve transcriptase PCR and biofilm assaying. Then I went into industry. It was just testing immunoassays, but now I can’t say I’m not competent in running every type of ELISA and immuno-florescence assay under the sun! Now I’m going into research.

I’m sick of people now using unemployed as a status, joining clubs/online communities to look for comfort in each other instead of using the time to put themselves out there. When I left my master degree, all I did was apply to jobs. Anything in a lab. If I was choosier, I would have missed the job I did get, as it said in the job description that it was just making buffers. But I applied anyway and it turned out to be more advanced. I’m not saying all unemployed professionals are like this, but in my experience many are. They don’t apply to enough jobs, they don’t sale themselves enough. People have told me they go to interviews and can’t answer the questions. Why?! I could at all 3 interviews I’ve had and got all 3 jobs (one I turned down). It’s like they have become so confident they think once they get an interview, it’s almost like getting a job. No it’s an opportunity to sale yourself more and if you can’t you lose! Life’s a struggle. Not always the most cleverest people with the best memory win! Those that use their initiative early on and start getting onto the job ladder early, like when they study, stands a better chance. And as we’re a small minority, we really stand out among applicants.

I made this entry open because I’m sick of this attitude graduates have that just a degree is enough. It is if you’re the only applicant! As all applicants to professional vacancies are going to have degrees, you need to stand out. And if you can’t, well it’s never too late to start volunteering while job hunting and/or getting a basic job like in a shop. At least with the latter you’re not leeching off tax payers’ money and you don’t look like a lazy bum to employers. When I was interviewed for my industrial job, most of the questions were on my job in Boots, which shows it does make a difference.

Comments

Agree. In my course we had an optional year of industry work. That was a huge draw card for me to attend that uni, and I had to travel 1.5 hours a day to uni but it was worth it. And just to get THAT job I had to volunteer at a gift shop.
1.5 hours one way only. Of course the job was through interviews to compete against other students and a pay cut, but so worth it.

I think I need a new keyboard, I had to rewrite my comment four times, my keyboard keeps bugging up.
Holy crap! I didn't realise my entry was so long!

I used to travel 1.5-2 hours by 2 buses one way to uni. I also had to walk 50 mins one way to my previous job. Great way to make myself exercise. I lost a lot of weight and found it easier to keep off, I think because of the exercise.

Pay cut would be taking it too far for me to be honest... But if you're happy, then it was worth it for you. :)