A career in the sciences is appealing to many. The idea of making world-changing breakthroughs and discoveries or of studying something that you love for the rest of your life can certainly be exciting. The thought of being the person to find a cure for a disease, or to develop an exciting new project is thrilling. Many people with an interest in science at school pursue further scientific study as they get older, in the hope of becoming a scientist.
But, it’s not that simple. Studying to be a scientist takes a long time, a lot of hard work and a lot of money. You don’t just need to be smart and interested. It’s not all about the exciting breakthroughs and developments. Sometimes it’s about finding the right 96 well plate to fit your filtration system or writing up a dull report. But, there are many different career paths that you can enter with a love of science. So, here are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself if you think a life in science might be for you.
1. Do You Have An Enquiring Mind?
Scientific discoveries are often made because the scientists behind them just don’t give up. They want to learn more. They want to know why and how things work, and they won’t let things go until they understand. Are you curious about the world around you? As well as the finer details?
2. Are You Brave Enough To Ask The Right Questions?
The best scientists dare to question what is in front of them. They challenge existing theories and long-held beliefs. They even ask questions of their superiors and well-known members of their industry. If you want to be a successful scientist, you need to be able to speak up and ask the questions.
3. Are You Patient?
Scientific research is very much a long game. Breakthroughs are rare. They don’t come straight away and a vast amount of your research, and time will come to nothing but dead ends. It takes patience and perseverance in the face of multiple setbacks.
4. Are You Calm Under Pressure?
If you work in a lab, you might spend your time handling chemicals, working with gases, and around other dangerous components. Sometimes, things go wrong, and you can find yourself in hazardous situations. You need to be able to stay calm under pressure, make the right decisions, keep yourself and everyone else safe and if necessary protect your research or findings.
5. Do You Have Other Key Skills?
Being a good scientist isn’t all about your scientific knowledge and understanding. You also need to have exceptional IT skills. You need to be an excellent communicator. You should also be good at maths and have the skills required to compile reports showing your findings. You might also need to sell your ideas, pitch for funding and investments in your research. If you want to be a scientist, you need to have all of these skills or be able to brush them up as you go.