What happened when I joined the Cheeky Scientist Association

I sat in the dark in my bathroom.

It was late one night in November of 2017.

I was worried about my future.

What was my future?


what happened when I joined cheeky scientist association blog how to phd oindree banerjee
Photo credit: Linda Cremonesi, a postdoc at University College London
For a long time, I had been set on academia, but now I was not sure.

I was in my 5th year of graduate school and had gotten a much closer look. 

The academic system was misleading and underpaying junior scientists. 

So many great postdocs seemed let down. 

Nevertheless, I applied to (and got offers for) postdocs because 1) that's all I knew and 2) of course, I was and am still very passionate about my science.

But I was worried.

I already felt isolated in grad school.

A postdoc, I imagined, would be even more isolating. 

Making it even harder to find a job outside academia when I would inevitably have to leave. 

We all know this, right?

Good, great, excellent postdocs subsidize academia with YEARS of their lives only to find themselves isolatedly and desperately job-hunting. 

I could choose to think that I am special and ignore this inevitable outcome

OR 

I could try to help my situation NOW

The problem was I really did not know HOW to help myself.

I knew I needed help. 

The HOW part of it was completely beyond me.

And so I sat in the dark distraught about my situation in graduate school (we all have a grad school SITCH) as well as my future.

I had followed Cheeky Scientist on LinkedIn, was getting their emails, and had been to a few free webinars.

The frequency of their emails seemed excessive but the free webinars made me feel like they were legit.

Their material was good. 

Their articles were inspiring.

I had not yet joined as an associate though.

Why?

Because I was a poor grad student!

It was going to cost about 22% of my month's income after tax.

Just a one-time cost to join for life, but still.

Christmas was the next month and this would mean I could not buy as many Christmas presents.

But I had bigger problems. 

And these had now led to despair. 

I knew I would feel better if I took action to improve my situation. So I did.

I had done a bunch of homework on Cheeky, but I still felt like I was being kind of impulsive.

We PhDs always overthink. 

But it is nice to realize that we deserve better than suffering literally all the time.

I could try to figure out the whole how-to-life-outside-academia-and-find-a-job by myself

OR

I could get some help

So I sat there in the dark on my phone typing in my credit card information.

After I joined, I realized it had been silly to question joining as there was obviously so much that I did not know I did not know that now I was more aware of.

I was overwhelmed by all the material that I had access to.

It is now early August of 2018 and I still have not learned everything or finished going through the material.

My graduation ceremony is tomorrow.

I defended successfully in July. 

I accepted a job as a Senior Consultant back in June while still in the middle of finishing grad school.

Link to my transition video

Getting this job is obviously a very exciting outcome for me.

Finishing grad school is the MOST exciting outcome for me. 

Most importantly, I can never forget the support and training I got from Cheeky when I had not yet landed a job.

When I was struggling and having bad experiences in my job search and feeling stuck. 

That's what has really meant the world to me.

The moment I joined I felt that I had a PLAN even though I was far from having a job. 

Having a plan is so much better than having no plan.

At least, I was doing something about my situation.

I felt better.

And that was essential to my success in finishing up grad school. 

Turns out it was a really good plan. 

It's really nice when you make it, but it is SO difficult to get there when you are on your own.

For me, it took a village or two including the Cheeky Scientist Association :) 

Share your questions or concerns in the comments below!

4 comments:

  1. Such an amazing experience,Oindree! Thanks for sharing it and for the wonderful walk down the memory lane!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Abha - excited to see you here!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You placed yourself so quickly. An inspiring story for other PhDs. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Anindya!
      All the best and hope to stay in touch!

      Delete

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