What I Learned at Survival Skills For Scientists

On Friday March 9, I attended Survival Skills for Scientists. An all-day event with keynote talks, discussion panels and workshops all focussed on one thing: careers in science. Presenters with diverse professions, from academia to private-industry, all spoke about the career paths they chose and how they got to where they are today.

Here are some things I took away:

  1. Goals: Set goals for yourself and keep your eye on the prize. Think of what you want career-wise and figure out what will get you there. If you don’t know, look at people who have accomplished what you want to and the paths they took to get there.
  2. Work Hard: Whatever your goals are, work hard and you can achieve them. Never forget, a good work ethic will get you places! Anyone (future employers included) wants to work with someone who is dedicated.
  3. Try, try, try: Never be afraid to apply yourself (and take risks!) because you can’t win if you don’t play.
  4. It’s OK to fail: Failure and rejection is part of life. ALWAYS learn from it, and if the same failure happens repeatedly, take a step back and see what is causing it. While we’re on failure, it’s also a good idea to look around and learn from the mistakes of others as well.
  5. Mentor: Every single person who spoke had one thing in common, one or more mentor’s at each phase of their career that offered them support to help them grow. In my graduate education at McGill, I already know my supervisor is my mentor. She consistently believes in me, gives me advice and offers me opportunities to learn and grow. Who is yours?

Did you attend Survival Skills for Scientists? What did you take away from it?


Banner picture by Saima Ahmed (Steezsister)

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