Hey! It’s been awhile and a lot has happened. Since we last spoke I’ve been to:
-Santa Barbara (Christmas)
-Atlanta (New Years)
-Back to France, for January exams
-Then Oxford for a tour of Tolkin related things and a musical themed party
-Coursework in Neurodevelopment, Neruroanatomy, Neropharmachology and physiology, Genetic Animal Models, and our big research project class.
-Figuring out all medical related logistical stuff. Next stop finances!
-Coursework in Memory, Rythtms, and Sensory Physiology
I really need to finish:
-Finding labs for our two upcoming mini-rotations and for the lab internship next year. I want to do something in social neuroscience, preferably something related to stereotypes or self/ other social perceptions. I’ll also look at Neuropsychology.
Looking for labs always means thinking about how those labs are going to fit into my future plans. The problem isn’t that I don’t know what I want (I do), I’m just not sure how to get there. The thing I hate most is when there is a specific factor that I know is important to me, but I don’t know how that translates into something like “which PhD programs should I consider”.
I had been considering a PhD in Europe. However, my visit to Oxford made me reconsider. I was there to visit a friend, who is a classics student. She did her master at Oxford and now she is doing her PhD at UCL. She told me that after her PhD she was going to need to do a post doc (a step that is not normal for a classics student), because the US schools that she wants to teach at would not see her degree as equivalent to a US degree.
At this point, I‘m like, but wait you went to OXFORD and UCL is no slouch (they have one of the best cog neuro departments). However, my friend says that the shorter degrees (European PhDs last 3-4 years, compared to the 5-7 years in the US), would be seen as less valid. I wanted to know whether or not the same would be true for a European science degree. These degrees certainly had not prevented my French Professors from getting US post docs (at UCSD & UCLA, among others), which for science people is the next step after a PhD.
In France and Italy the funding is attached more to the student and less to the lab, which I had believed gives students more creative freedom. I know my friends who went to European programs had more opportunities to train in different labs, than my friends in the US. In France, students apply for grants and then find labs to host them. The grants are based on the student’s performance in their master and the quality of the student’s research proposal. My first choice career is always to work at a college and I had thought, with a recent emphasis on studying abroad, a degree abroad might even give me an edge. Finally, science is more international than other fields, since our work really depends on the body of other work out there.
I wasn’t sure where to go with my questions. Then I discovered the BEST* RESORUCE FOR PEOPLE WITH ACADEMIC CAREER QUESTIONS! The answers I got were nuanced and basically it will depend on how much I want to work at a college vs how important independence is to me. I have a very specific project in mind, which I am thinking I may not want to get too attached to. However, the feedback I get on the idea has been universally positive, so far. So I am still doing research and finding out more (see the end of this post for other resources).
Finally, here are the pictures of food I promised you.
At the bakery:
Alsatian cuisine (restaurants in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany):
Tune in later for food pictures from Paris and Italy!
Other resources that answer questions that keep me up at night:
The Chronicle of Higher Education (sometimes, more often though this where information that keeps me up at night comes from)
*That I’ve found.