Becoming a scientist in your future can be a rewarding career, but there is much to do long before you find the cure to a disease, develop a new revolutionary product, or solve a problem that has been plaguing humanity for decades. Most scientists today are noticing an increase in competition from other careers, like engineering, where science tends to overlap. Allowing stress and pressure to creep in is not beneficial. Scientists who become overwhelmed from too much anxiety tend to lose interest and no longer enjoy science as much as they did in the past.
The follow tips can help prospective scientists find the right field of study and avoid finding themselves in a situation where they no longer are having fun:
1. Balance your university coursework with interesting courses. Focusing entirely on science, math, and other specialized fields of study should not be your only education. While these are essential to your future as a scientist, remember to take other courses of interest to you, such as poetry, art, photography, and history.
2. Choose a good university. Some future scientists get weighed down by looking for universities with higher publishing rates and being able to get a grant. These features can be beneficial, but, if the school does not motivate you, then you have a problem. Select a university which makes you feel motivated and energized.
3. Choose good professors and educators. Some professors treat their students like free labor and utilize the course to further their own research. A sign of a good professor and educator is one who encourages, motivates, and helps future scientists with their own personal and scientific development.
4. Broaden your learning horizons. Take advantage of exchange programs, internships, and studying abroad to further expand your knowledge. Many young scientists overlook the benefits of these learning opportunities.
5. Take time out for yourself. It is okay to take time away from your studies and have fun doing something you consider enjoyable. Attend a seminar, visit a museum, or read a science fiction/fantasy novel. Often, young scientists see a problem within other areas of interest, and realize they have the tools, techniques, and skills to solve it.
6. Develop your communication skills. One of the major hurdles for scientists is being able to communicate their ideas to others lacking a scientific background, or being comfortable while speaking in front of large groups of people. Supplement your education with communication and public speaking coursework.
7. Start building a name for yourself. Conduct your own research and start building your own findings, rather than working with an already established scientist. Even though the experience of working for a well-known scientist is beneficial to your career, it can be difficult for you to step out of their shadow or receive recognition for your contributions toward their research work.
Lastly, throughout your studies, remember to document and record notes by hand. In today’s computer-driven society, it is tempting to store notes, files, and data related to your research on a computer. However, there is always the risk your ideas will be stolen by a hacker. Protect yourself by making your own handwritten backup copies of the information in scientific notebooks. In the event of a dispute, having hand-written notes in laboratory and research notebooks can easily show that you were the first to formulate a hypothesis, solve a problem, or develop a new product.
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