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    Debora Marchak said:

    I am less than six months away from finishing my Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry at Tel Aviv University and I haven’t planned my career, at all. Here in Israel most of my colleagues share my position: we get to the end of the degree without knowing where we are going to be next year this same date. So I can definitely relate to some of the points stated in this article.


    However I don’t think this is completely a bad idea. The more you plan your future the more you limit yourself to one direction.  So if you get the best education and preparation you can but leave all the doors open, then you might exploit your potential to the fullest. For instance, you might discover along the way plenty of qualities you didn’t know you had and you may want to detour your career in order to use all these qualities.


    The best thing my advisor gives everyone in our group is the notion that the scientific world is multidisciplinary and that we should prepare for it accordingly.  All of us work on every aspect of our projects from beginning to end, from sample preparation and its measurement to data processing. Thus, by the end of the degree we find ourselves qualified for more than one area.


    Personally, I feel it is better not to plan every single aspect of our lives. From the moment we start our undergraduate degree, there are different stages awaiting us until we get to the Ph.D. or even post-doc. It is not surprising most students let themselves be carried by the profession, reassuring ourselves at every stage that they are the best they can be, and then moving on to the next stage.

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    Eva Amsen said:

    I agree with Debora: I don’t think it’s all that bad that students don’t have a career in mind. How can you possibly know for certain what you want to do with your life when you apply for university at age 17? I started out in Chemistry with the honest intention of becoming an evironmental scientist, and I ended up running a website for biologists – but I never had to backtrack. It just followed naturally from the choices I made during my degrees.

    Forensic science may not be the best example here, because that is quite a specialized area. If you only train to be a forensic scientist through a specialized undergraduate degree, then you will indeed feel the pinch of the job market at the end of that track.

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    Laura Wheeler said:

    Unless you have a vocation in mind such as wanting to be a Doctor, then I agree a lot of graduates don’t really know what they want to do.  I put this down to lack of relevant career advice. I found this survey carried out by the Graduate Recruitment bureau to be extremely enlightening. Asking 135 graduates “Who gave you the best careers advice?” 36% said a website, and 27% said a friend gave them their best career advice. Surely graduates should be getting relevant career advice from the proper sources?