Some students come up with the idea of pursuing a scientific career. Others are encouraged by their professor, but some also by others, for example in the context of semester abroad at universities or internships. But there are also students who, even before starting their studies, are certain that their academic career is their goal.
There are also young people who participate in a research program and then conclude that the academic career is a perfect match for life planning. Anyone aspiring to an academic career needs a title. You only achieve that if you follow your goal from the beginning.
The following questions should be answered by students
How extrovert are you?
Engaging in an academic career does not mean tinkering with complicated questions in an office or laboratory and only having an exchange with others at the end. Anyone seeking an academic career must be socially compatible and start networking as soon as possible. It is important that you are perceived from the beginning as someone who has high goals and wants to make a name for himself. A good network guarantees that important information, such as training, tenders and events, will reach you as well.
How sacrificial are you?
For a successful study a lot of time is needed. In order to pursue an academic career, it is necessary to spend a lot of time early on so that the goal can be reached. Reductions in other actions or time-consuming hobbies and interests limit personal freedom. This can be stressful and cause the goal is not so tempting anymore. Even with good mobility, it is not uncommon for the student to change university and thus also the place of residence. This means losing social contacts and putting aside leisure interests. Even the distance to the family can be stressful. This is all the more true if the field of study almost obligates a stay abroad.
How confident are you?
The academic career requires a high degree of flexibility. The posts for the scientific career are rare. There are not many choices, and it does not matter which course of study it is. If you are looking for a scientific or medical career, you are facing particularly great competition. This does not only apply to the doctorate, but can also play a role during the bachelor or master thesis. The eligible positions are often limited in time. This in turn means that there is often no absolute safety for the future.
This, in turn, requires the graduate to have the courage to face up to the challenges, even if he or she does not know what will happen after the temporary job. Those who are only responsible for themselves can often manage this more easily than students who are so dependent on each other and have to ask for understanding again and again. To make matters worse, the academic career takes years and often crosses the life phase of starting a family. This also needs to be taken into account so that the planning is transparent and agreed from the beginning.
How convincing are you on stage?
The academic career requires a lot of skills. These skills will improve over the course of your studies and career. The prerequisite is that the graduate always critically deals with himself and his weaknesses and strengths and always strives to improve. That is exhausting. It is only natural that not everyone can do everything. There are always weaknesses somewhere. This can be the perseverance, one’s own temperament, fears and also the expandable ability to present complicated processes in front of an audience interesting and to face critical listeners.
A graduate aspiring to a scientific career will also be in the position of speaking to trade professionals, students or the press. It is not always possible to prepare extensively. Part of a natural ability is understandable and interesting to talk about, but above all, it is learned. Depending on the talent, some young people succeed faster, others take longer to gain this competence.
There are also professionals who never really succeed. If you want to be a good speaker, you should take every opportunity to speak in public. At best, your speech will be filmed. If you then look at it critically, you will discover weaknesses that you should work on. But also take note of your good qualities and expand them.
Can you fail?
An academic career is hardly straightforward. If you have this goal, you should realize that there will be phases when you will not have control over the processes. This can affect your own promotion, which does not progress. But there is also the possibility that someone else could get hold of the course in a class that you urgently needed. Lack of money, language problems abroad, loss of friends or other private problems can cause a lot of frustration.
If several factors come together, this can lead to the student breaking in and giving up. Therefore, be aware from the beginning that such events are very likely. It takes a great deal of inner conviction and confidence in the future to endure these difficult phases and to understand that failure at one point does not mean career out of hand.
What does it mean to pursue an academic career?
To embark on a scientific career means never to stop asking questions.
It also means that the personal drive, the desire to research, must be part of one’s own being. It is not enough to want to make a career. Curiosity and perseverance are important. To aspire to a scientific career does not mean that the doctoral program sets the course for success and that success always sets in with good performance.
It’s not like this. Scientists are dependent on funding and supporters. The fact that scientists are being courted for their achievements is rare. Therefore, the personal attitude and motivation is particularly important. It helps the graduate to the necessary inner conviction.
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