Apologies for taking so long to get up this second post (out of a likely 3) about the Doctoral Directions conference I attended a few weeks ago. The previous post in this series talked about innovation and creative thinking; today’s topic is all about the future.
One of the activities we were asked to do at the conference was to answer this question: Where do I want my science to be? We were told to write down what we envision ourselves being/doing in 5 or 10 years from now. The important thing, we were told, was to write it down so that it becomes something concrete instead of just a fleeting thought in our heads. Here is what I wrote:
What do you want to study? Immune suppression in the context of immunotherapy: how is this affected by physical interactions between immune cells & the microenvironment.
What do you want to be doing? I want to run a laboratory/do research focused on basic research for the immunotherapy of cancer and how to target these treatments so they will work better in the context of the tumor microenvironment. I also want to be involved in scientific outreach/education at the high school or undergraduate level. Together these will help alter the paradigm of how to design and deliver immunotherapies, and train the next wave of scientists.
Now my future plans are out there for the whole world to read! I am curious to see, 5 years from now when I will hopefully be finishing up my PhD dissertation, how much of this is still what I am interested in doing with the rest of my life. Either way, it was a good exercise to be forced to articulate a long-term scientific and professional goal. Of course it can still change, and that is an important part of growing both as a scientist and as a person, but having something concrete to work towards is a good mindset to have.
Readers! Have you done an exercise like this before? What are your 5-year goals in science, or in whatever field you study/work in? Tell me in the comments!