again! Last time, I left myself in the middle of the forest with a biochem
degree and a year of forestry expertise. At that time, I was able to look at
and smell a piece of wood and from the grain, texture and scent determine the
species of tree from which the wood originated!! Technically, I was skilled. A
career, I did not have.
my previous blog, it was clear that I never planned for a career in forestry.
Now that I was on this path, a fortuitous derailment occurred, in the form of
an unplanned opportunity. During a last minute trip to Southern California,
through an acquaintance on the visit I was introduced to animal, neuroscience
and bench research at the University of California, Irvine.
were areas that were unavailable to me as an undergraduate. And, as luck would
have it, there was a position opening up in the lab for entry-level research.
At the urging of my friends, and with the support of my parents, I turned down
graduate school in forestry to take this seemingly low-paying, dead-end job. A
decision I never regretted.
unplanned accident got me back on the main track of doing biological research.
The work really allowed me to clearly identify my love of biological research
and my commitment to it. The greatest fortune of all was that I had an
incredibly supportive mentor. He was a leader in neuroscience, a renowned
researcher, an excellent role model, a good teacher, and genuinely interested
in developing young minds.
this point, I still do not have a career plan. What I have is a job! I’ve
bartended, waited tables, and even mowed lawns in the past (part time in the
summer like everyone else), but this is the first time my job actually utilized
my education. This is not by any means a breakthrough in my career plans. But
as I look back, it was a pivotal fork in the road. And importantly, not one
that I could ever plan for or anticipate!