University and life in the lab – sharing experience of early-stage research careers
As a first-year PhD student I recently took part in a careers session for some students from the University Technical College (UTC) in Cambridge. The students were visiting Babraham Institute labs to finish off some practical work as part of the Protein Challenge project run by other scientists in the Institute’s Signalling Programme.
I teamed up with fellow first-year PhD student Richard Odle to give the students an insight into how we have found life in the Babraham labs so far. The students were a pleasure to talk to and showed a real enthusiasm for science. We had discussions about university life, independent learning, and our journey in science to date.
One common theme discussed with both groups was the students’ own aspirations and career ideas. Choosing the next steps after school can be daunting but it was great to hear that so many of the students already knew that they wanted to apply for university. A couple of students also mentioned they were contemplating a career in academic research so we offered them tips that we have picked up on the way during our own studies. We also discussed the many alternative ways to gain a career in science such as apprenticeships for those unsure if university was for them. It was great to hear so many different viewpoints from the students and to share our own thoughts and experiences with them.
Overall it was a highly enjoyable experience and something that we would definitely contribute to again. We wish the students the very best of luck with their studies and futures careers!