Not Just Returning From Industry But Changing Careers

Returning to academia after years in industry is hard. People have already disclosed how difficult it is. “It was a shock,” says molecular endocrinologist Steven Kliewer to Nature when recalling the move from industry to academic research. Assistant professor Jeannie Holstein says in The Guardian that she “won’t pretend it has been easy because it hasn’t” to pursue a PhD after an MBA. Those people, however, are commenting on returning to academia from jobs in related fields. What do you do if you’re making a complete career change?

In my case, I am moving from fashion to neuroscience, with very little to bridge the two fields. This transition between related fields is not easy. The transition between disparate fields is harder. But luckily, as one commenter in an Ask Metafliter query said, “a couple-year absence from [your chosen] field would be a hurdle, but not a deal-breaker”.

So how do you break into academia? What do you do? I’m in the middle of the transition, having been accepted into a graduate program but still looking for a job in my field, so I have a few tips to share about getting started. Continue reading

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Never A Fraud: Combating Imposter Phenomenon

As a disabled woman of color, I have had to jump many a personal and professional hurdle to gain admission into my current program. Even without a disability, being a matriculated graduate student is an accomplishment. However, sometimes I wonder if I have truly earned my place among my peers. The insecurity is confusing, and if that weren’t enough, the battle to internalize my achievements is exhausting and demoralizing. I feel like an imposter unworthy of the position I had worked for. Were my entrance essays that good? Did I get special consideration because I am a woman? Or maybe I was admitted because I had a disability?

This feeling is common enough to have a name: Imposter phenomenon. Continue reading