Field: Wildlife Disease Ecoepidemiology
Job/position: Post-doc/early faculty
How long have you been working in this field? 8 years
What kind of story would you like to share? Life struggle story
Please share your story here:
After I finished my first postdoc, I developed pneumonia. The postdoc had ended badly with my boss due to instances of harassment and his controlling nature. This, combined with my illness and the stress of moving (somewhere?) contributed to the deepest and longest depression of my life. I put everything in storage and moved in with my parents for two months. While I was recovering, I questioned my desire to pursue a scientific/academic career and had almost decided against it. But, as I lay in bed all day, I began reading biographies of famous scientists (Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, Richard Feynman, etc.). I realized that these great scientists had dealt with the imposter syndrome, with personal tragedy, with mental and physical illnesses. It helped put my whole career into perspective. That fall, I began working on my teaching philosophy and research statement and soon began applying to positions and working on manuscripts again.
What do you wish you had known earlier during your career in science?
That not everyone has the same motivations as you do. Some people are in science for reasons other than the love of learning. Learning how to manage people and how to deal with different motivations and personality types
Any final comments or advice for young scientists:
Build a network everywhere you go. Use social media to keep connected to family and friends. You are allowed to ask for help. There is no shame in having a chemical imbalance, no matter what anyone (even people you admire) says.