Getting Over Academic Science

Since the 11th grade, I wanted to be a research scientist. In college, I was always looking for opportunities to get involved in research, and by the time I finished my bachelor's degree I was headed to what I thought was intellectual heaven: graduate school! There, my colleagues and I learned that higher education is a grind; many either quit or failed to cut the mustard. Nevertheless, throughout graduate school, my professors encouraged me to prepare for a postdoctoral fellowship and the ultim

Morris Saffold Jones
Apr 25, 2004

Since the 11th grade, I wanted to be a research scientist. In college, I was always looking for opportunities to get involved in research, and by the time I finished my bachelor's degree I was headed to what I thought was intellectual heaven: graduate school! There, my colleagues and I learned that higher education is a grind; many either quit or failed to cut the mustard. Nevertheless, throughout graduate school, my professors encouraged me to prepare for a postdoctoral fellowship and the ultimate: a faculty position.

As a student and postdoc during the past seven years, I have noticed a key ingredient to a successful career, whether it be graduate student, postdoc, or young investigator: countless hours in the laboratory, focused on experiments and data analysis.

When I began my postdoc fellowship, I realized that spending the majority of my time away from my wife and child would lead to...