Hi again, Ciara here! Last week (May 2023), I was asked back to the college I completed my undergraduate degree at the technological university of Dublin (TUD). They held their first Bio-molecular Science Careers and Alumni event. This event entailed previous graduates returning to the college to enjoy an evening of talks from graduates of other years showing their journey since graduation. I was lucky enough to be amongst the panel of speakers to hopefully inspire this year’s graduates about all the possibilities available after graduation. It was also great to be back and connecting with familiar faces of classmates, lecturers and TUD staff. I had a fantastic time reminiscing about my time in college. I was lucky to be one of the residents of the old DIT Kevin St (now located at TUD Grangegorman). My course was very hands-on, accumulating 30 hours of lab work a week along with lectures. Although it was intense, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in DIT (now TUD).
My presentation on the evening was aimed at students thinking about research as their next step. I told them all about my career journey since 2017, from graduating college, moving to industry and coming back to academia to complete my PhD.
So, for my blog post this week, I would like to leave you with my top tips I shared with them for starting out on a PhD journey.
- Pick a topic you have a genuine interest in – don’t just take an opportunity because you don’t think it will come around again.
- There will always be funding available. You have to look in the right places and be persistent in your search.
- Get to know your supervisor (PI) before starting; you spend 4 years building a relationship with them.
- Ask questions to current PhD students; you can never ask too many questions before beginning.
- Work as a research assistant (RA) with a research group while searching for funding and before committing to a full-time 4 year-PhD. It helps get a feel if research is the right place for you.
- Enjoy the extended college years!
Written by Ciara Gallagher