The choices we make!
One of the major decisions that has haunted me through my PhD is whether I want to stay in academia or not. I sincerely love doing research, I love going to conferences, I love reading scientific papers and talking to other scholars. I even love giving talks and teaching, dissemination can be very rewarding and enjoyable. At some point I was certain that I would go for an academic career, but things change.
Another thing I like is a fresh challenge. After having spent the summer at deCODE genetics, I saw the possibilities outside academia. Doing a PhD is a binary process, either you have a PhD or not (Quote from my friend Óli Páll, who recited Professor Havard Rue from NTNU). Having obtained my PhD made me think differently about my own future, and what I could accomplish. We sometimes say, “it is the journey, not the destination”, I feel that doing a PhD is different, there is a certain destination, obtaining the degree! In that regard I did not allow myself to ponder other possibilities.
It is good to evaluate your goals and values every now and then. I have certain goals that I would like to achieve 5, 10 and 20 years down the line. From my point of view, I have a higher likelihood of achieving these goals outside academia, at least if I stay there for some time. I would also feel good about returning to academia at some point, having experienced the outside world.
One of the important things my PhD supervisor made me realize is that the most valuable resource we possess is time. Time is a resource that we can never get back. We should use this resource to do something we believe in, do something that makes a difference and we enjoy. I am forever grateful for my experience and time at DTU, I will cherish the moments I had there for the rest of my life. But for me the time for a change is now, it is time to go somewhere else, meet new people, learn, grow and contribute to great things. I look forward to this new path and I am happy for the choice I made.