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  • Foto do escritorStephane Werner

Academic career: it's hard, but it is worth it (at least to me)

My desk at USP when I was doing my masters at São Paulo.

Many people ask me about academic careers and to be 100% honest with you sometimes I don't know what to say. This career can be challenging and has many disadvantages. As a science communicator, I want to call young people to science and show them that science can be fascinating. At the same time, I don't like the idea of lying or omitting essential facts about this path. It's a significant challenge to convince people that being a scientist can be really cool and really hard.

I have always been a curious person, and I want to understand how nature works. For me, it's incredible to have the opportunity of working with something I'm really interested in. Today I can't see myself doing another thing. I want to keep going in this career.

However, this life can be tough, and I'll tell you why:

  • Instability. Today you are in an institute, and then in the masters in another place, there is the PhD and post-docs. So, it's an unstable life with many steps, and we are not sure if we will get to the next step.

  • Money. We need money to live, and until you get a stable position, you will not get a lot of money. This is something that it's complicated because many people have to help the family financially and give up of the career because of that. Unfortunately, academic life nowadays has deep class issues. It's much easier to be an academic if you are already rich and have financial support from your parents.

  • Maths, physics, critical thinking. The courses are not easy, and research is arduous. I used to say that scientists are not people who never failed, but they are always trying to improve themselves and never give up. You must be persistent.

I won't lie to you guys, and that's why I'm always talking about the problems I have been through. Well, but I still think it is worth it. Why?

  • I love what I do, and I'm really interested in knowing more about the Universe. I like the idea of looking at the sky and discovering new things. With passion, things get a little bit easier.

  • Astronomers travel a lot and travelling can be really fun!

  • I met new people from all over the world, new cultures, a new language, so I have the opportunity of learning a lot, and I love learning.

I have friends that disagree with that, they finished their PhDs, and now they are working in companies. Different people will have different opinions and different paths, and that's OK! The important is that you are happy with what you are becoming.

What do you think about this career? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments.

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