Postdocs, What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

February 17, 2017

I’m writing to you from the future. The year is 2017 and you are a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University Medical Center (yes, you finally graduated and got a job). I’m writing to give you advice about your path to science. It’s not an easy path, but I can promise you that it is well worth it. First, make the most of yourself, for this is something you can affect. Learn as many skills as possible along the way. You don’t know this yet, but science skills are very useful in real life (using a scalpel to open your packages and mail is a time saver). Don’t sweat the small things because everything works out one way or another. Most importantly, make friends and work as a team because these peers will soon be your most trusted collaborators or your competition (always best to keep your “enemies” close). Team science is really the future, so I can’t stress enough that you need to break out of your shy comfort zone and talk to the girl who sits next to you. Next, learn to accept failure and you will go far. Failure is the best way to learn and troubleshoot in science. Finally, take something apart and put it back together. Building your own equipment in the lab is cheap and rewarding. Soldering is also very calming. Good luck and remember that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.