August 10, 2010

post-grad thoughts: academia vs. industry

Lately, the pressure has been on to begin thinking about "what i'm going to do with my life". I've known, probably since 9th grade, that I've had this passion for genomics/neuroscience/pharmacogenomics. I would be very happy sitting at a bench with test tubes, gels, sequencing technology - all of it. Unfortunately, word on the street is that jobs like that don't really "pay well", and aren't worthy of the next six years of grad school tuition and education. Soooo, now I find myself asking - do I want to be in academia or do I want to get into pharmacogenomics and be in an industry job?

The deciding factor for me appears to be that industry apparently tends to offer more/better financial opportunities, but academia would most likely foster more flexibility in terms of being able to explore my own research interests. And while these fields seem to be pretty divergent, it would seem as though you need the same fundamental skills - writing well, being a good scientist (broad, i know) and keeping up with current research trends.

Sometimes I wonder if in my future the two will have to be mutually exclusive. And I really wonder if I will actually be given the opportunity to choose for myself. I'm going to have to find a way to make a living somehow in research, and most likely I'll end up in whichever lets me in.

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