The future is unknown, but that’s a good thing. It means anything is possible. No matter how much planning, the unexpected never ceases to arise. You might think you want to be a doctor, and then you experience your first research discovery. You’ve always wanted to pursue a PhD, but then you meet a patient. No fellow is better suited to contemplate the unknowns of the future than our postbacs (well, maybe our summer interns are, but this issue is about postbacs, so…).
Postbaccalaureate studies are a time to explore all academic and career options. It’s like going to an ice cream shop and tasting different flavors on tiny plastic spoons before committing to a scoop. Do you go with your longtime favorite to make sure you still like it, or do you sample something completely new, knowing that it’s not an entire bowl if it’s less than desirable? Most postbacs I’ve met do exactly what they should—use a heck of a lot of tiny spoons.
Last month, former postbac fellow Miles Oliva described his journey to becoming a research coordinator in pursuit of a master’s in public health. This month, in our “Thoughts of a Postbac” column, former postbac Michael Lee recounts his path to an MD/PhD program. And check back next month for former postbac fellow Amber Simmons’ story of becoming a physician-in-training. For postbacs who need a confidence boost during their decision making, postbac author Lauren Tracy recaps the career development discussion with Dr. Elaine Ostrander from last month’s NIH Research Festival program.
As postbacs navigate these life-changing decisions, mentorship is paramount. This is evidenced by the fact that all 2018 NICHD Mentor of the Year awardees were nominated by at least one postbac. Check out this year’s winners, with several kind words from their nominators, here. For additional resources beyond mentorship, NICHD postbacs can always turn to our two new postbac reps, Ari Lechsinska and Mitch Lee. If you have any questions or comments about postbac activities at the NIH or NICHD, please feel free to reach out to them (contact info here). One activity to consider is the annual NICHD postbac course, which starts this month. Visit the October announcements for additional information.
Now I’m going to dig into the Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream sitting in my freezer, no tiny spoon needed.
Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, Ph.D.
Questions, comments, or ideas? Contact our editor at Shana.Spindler@gmail.com