What Two Neuroscientists Would Tell Their Younger Selves
The following Q&A is adapted from the webinar, In First Person: Tips to Survive and Excel as a Woman in Neuroscience.
If you could, what advice would you give your past undergraduate self?
Susan Amara: I would probably tell myself to have more of a plan. In some ways, going through my entire career felt like I was Alice in Wonderland. It turned out to work for me, but in many ways, things are more challenging now. Thinking ahead and having a plan that you can modify can help.
I feel like I was very fortunate in that I made some good decisions with respect to the people I worked with and the things that I did. But I would have been better off had I known: Yes, you do this, and you do that, and that once you have a plan, you can modify it, but at least you’re building towards something. Particularly now, when we have things like K-awards in the United States and things where timing is important, I would encourage people to really anticipate some of the next steps rather than just wait for it to happen and realize that you’re set back because of it.
Sheena Josselyn: I also sort of went through without having a plan. I never really thought things through. I just sort of went with my gut with every decision and it worked out very well. I think that younger people today do have plans. I think plans are great, but I also like trusting your instincts. If I were to see my undergraduate self right now, I would say, “Enjoy it. Enjoy the ride. Don’t worry. Things do work out if you work really hard, and good things will come. Don’t worry.”
Watch the full webinar, In First Person: Tips to Survive and Excel as a Woman in Neuroscience.