It’s Never too Late to Choose What’s Best for You

This week, I’m grateful to have been sent an article recently published in Science on a topic that some of us have been discussing quite a lot. Coincidentally, HelloPhD’s podcast for today speaks to the same topic:

Is it too late for me to change labs?

In both situations, the women involved felt burnt-out and unhappy by around the third-year mark of their PhD, a time when more than a few PhD students hit their slumps. Both took the road less traveled: they decided to switch lab environments. And both, believe it or not, are currently successful in their academic careers. More importantly though, they are satisfied and happy.

So for those of you struggling and feeling trapped, know that there’s an alternative to leaving your PhD or sticking it out in a problem lab. Seek out advice and help in switching labs, and don’t think of the years you’ve already spent in your PhD as lost or wasted time, but rather as time you’ve spent training your skills and realizing the things you most certainly don’t want. The age-old cliche of better late than never seems to ring true in this case; if your gut tells you it’s time to seek greener pastures, switching labs to a place that will support your personal and career growth will make all the difference.

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Fátima Sancheznieto

Dr. Fátima Sancheznieto, PhD has recently completed her postdoctoral training at the UW-Madison school of medicine, where she studied mentor training interventions and STEMM training environments. Fátima became interested in the science of training when, during her PhD, she was trained in peer support by the Oxford University counseling center and began advocating for systemic and cultural changes in academic training environments. She has served on a working group for the Next Generation Researchers Initiative at the National Institutes of Health and is currently the President of Future of Research, a nonprofit organization that advocates and empowers early career researchers. Her current research continues to focus on studying the training environments of early career researchers.

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