…what do you say?
I wrote a new post over at Canadian Science Publishing answering this very question. How do you advise a keen student on science careers in general, not just those in academia?
“It’s a familiar scenario. A promising young undergrad visits your office one sunny day near the end of term in their third or fourth year. Exams are almost over, and campus life is becoming more bearable as the student hordes melt away. If you could only speed through that stack of final exams and assignments that need grading … no, wait. Back to that student. Sitting in your office. Eager, hopeful – maybe a bit nervous. They say they love your research area, they love research itself, they’re keen and bright – and they’re looking for career advice.
How many times have you said: “Come join my lab as a Masters student?” Or “if you’re really good we can switch you right into a PhD program.” Or “Academia is the best place for minds like yours, not to mention our flexible work hours.”
But is that really what the student was asking? They wanted career advice – and your advice is limited to an academic career. There are so many other opportunities out there for keen, bright students. What would happen if we opened up the conversation to a broader vision? Opportunities in academia, sure. But everything you can do with an academic degree, plus what you can do without it.”
Read more here.