Thursday, March 6, 2014

Post-Graduation Plans

by Blake S., Panther Blogger

Perhaps one of the most conflicting moments in one's life is deciding what the next step after graduating from college is going to be.  For some individuals, going straight into graduate school may seem to be the best path. However, for many others, including myself, taking some time off and going into the work force may be more appealing.

For a long time, I debated on whether or not I was ready to go straight into graduate school. I knew that I wanted to get a higher degree pertaining to the biological sciences, however there are so many different and fascinating options available. After looking at biomedical, microbiology, plant science, and environmental science programs, I decided that perhaps the best thing for me to do is to take some time off after graduation and experiment around to find out what interests me the most.  That way, I can be sure that I am partaking in a graduate program that I will thoroughly enjoy.

A petri plate containing many different species of microorganisms.

I am currently planning on participating in a few different experiences, all of which I am very interested in, to help me determine what area of the biological sciences fascinates me the most.  One of these is a trip during the summer to Zambia, Africa in which I will be part of a medical mission trip that is organized by Orphan Medical Network International (OMNI).  I will have the opportunity to help save lives and gain experience in the biomedical field.

I am also working on applying for a laboratory technician position at Eastman Chemical Company, in which I would be able to gain more experience with the laboratory aspect of the biological sciences and determine whether the laboratory research field is more for me. I am also planning on volunteering at a few state parks to gain experience in the environmental sciences.  These will all be very helpful experiences that will aid me in determining which career path best suits me.

An outdoor laboratory that is used for environmental science studies.
I strongly encourage all recent college graduates to make sure that the choices they make regarding life after graduation are the right ones for them. One should not feel pressured into applying and attending a graduate school if they do not personally feel like it is what they should do.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a little time off to ensure yourself that the path you are choosing is the one you will be glad you took!

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