23 March, 2010

Pondering #1

At this point in the cycle I am going to assume that grad school is not going to work out this year, and strangely making this assumption makes me feel much better about the whole deal. There are some programs from which I've not yet heard back, but even so, they may actually not even be the best fit for me anyhow. I'm already so busy doing so many awesome things that this doesn't really set me back, it just gives me more time to better up my badness.

The more I've pondered the luster of a purely academic career, the duller its enticing sheen has become. I'm not certain that I want to spend the rest of my life trapped in an office thinking thinking writing writing chasing funds and collaborators and students. There's nothing wrong with that career, it's the endgame for many scientists and most are very effective at commanding some incredible science from their desks, but I'm just no longer sure that I want it. As the sheen of academia has faded, entrepreneurship has become more enticing. I know it would involve a lot of the same office-bound paper chasing that I mention above, but that somehow doesn't make it less appealing. I think the primary appeal of it may be that the organization I build would be a product of my own devotion and charm more than bound by the strictures of bureaucracy and tenure requirements. I am terrified of complacent mediocrity (terrified I may someday see it in myself), and I'd much rather fail spectacularly than piddle along because there's a lot more to learn in failing than in middling.

However, right now I'm just a Bachelor of Science, not even a Master thereof, so I know that founding a start-up now would be substantially more complex than doing so later after I've attained more letters behind my name and the experience (wisdom?) that goes with them*. So grad school remains as a goal, I'm just content at the moment to polish my street cred and scientific credentials to help me get in next year rather than be disappointed by this year's rejection.

*This may not stop me anyhow right now.

1 comment:

microbiologist xx said...

No matter what you decide, it's great that you are thinking about these things now. It seems like so many people get into grad school without a good grasp on how difficult this field is to navigate or where successful navigation of this career will lead you (i.e. a desk). I've seen a lot of people finish grad school unsatisfied and hating science. Some of them find another career field and others end up stuck in a never-ending post-doc type position.
Keep sorting things out. Graduate school will still be here next year.