To avoid that the same thing happens to you, I am going to tell you today what are the things that I would have liked to be told at the time, when I was beginning to study this fascinating career.
12 + 1 tips on the biology degree that I would have liked to receive years ago
Maybe all of them will be useful, maybe just some of them. But I am sure that the mere fact of reflecting on each of these points, whether you share them or not, will help you to better face the challenge of successfully overcoming the race and with a greater probability of going further. 😉Here are my 13 tips. :
1. Not everything is what you imagineWhen you start to study the race, you have many preconceived ideas that have little or nothing to do with reality. That led me to some disappointments, especially in the first years of the race and in the first years of the doctorate. In the first case, I thought it would be less general, not mathematics, physics or chemistry. In the second, I thought I would have more freedom to do what I wanted.
In none of the cases was it as I imagined, but it is not better or worse. Simply different. And if you know what you are going to find, you will avoid disappointments and clashes with reality, which will allow you to face things better.
2. Do not get obsessed with the notesThe important thing is to finish the race. Obtaining the title is a procedure and when you start working, you will realize that this will be your true practical learning. This does not mean that the knowledge acquired in the university does not serve you, but applying that knowledge in a practical way in a profession is like another subject in itself😉
The notes will be very useful for the subject of scholarships, for example. In addition, good grades can also serve to save you a good pinch of tuition, as often the honors you get allows you to discount an equivalent number of credits in the price of the following year's subjects. Therefore, it is worth that effort😉
They can also be useful when requesting some certifications from evaluating bodies, although here they count scientific publications, short stays, etc. However, once the race is over, your grade will hardly count. What they always ask for is the title, so finish the race as it is😉
3. Go to classIf it is boring. Yes, I did not do it frequently. However, I assure you it helps a lot. Only by attending in class, you will be retaining a large amount of information that you will otherwise have to acquire through the study, often under a large amount of pre-exam stress. Prepare your exams will be much more comfortable if you take your classes up to date😉
4. Practice EnglishI always highlight it, but it is very important. There are countless reasons why you should learn English, but the main one is that it is the language that brings together most of the knowledge of any discipline. If you do not master it, it will be impossible for you to make your way in the world of Biology, especially if you want to dedicate yourself to research. In addition, this step is essential to be able to face the next point😉
5. Sign up for biostatistics classesOne of my biggest mistakes in the race was to trust me and not pay attention to biostatistics. It is a fundamental tool, not only in the field of research, but I have also needed other times, as when I had to translate the results of fauna tracking in the reports of the consultancy.
I have been learning about jumping, but I lack a good base in statistics. Doing a course on the subject is one of my most urgent pending things. Seriously, do not make the same mistake as me 😉And learn to use the R!
6. Collaborate with a research groupBecoming part of a research group , even as a student collaborator, is one of the best things you can do in college form a network of contacts that can later become vital. Apart from studying and going partying at a party. 😛The best investment in time and effort you can do. Not only will you expand your training with skills and knowledge that are not learned in the race, but also you will start
7. Go to all the congresses, conferences and workshops that are presented to youThe congresses are an inexhaustible source of knowledge and an unbeatable framework for networking, as well as other colleagues of your level (and future professionals in the sector) as well as people of recognized prestige. If you prepare them well, they will bring you a large number of present and future benefits.
8. Travel as much as you canThe known world, new experiences and immerse themselves in other cultures and other ways of working opens the mind, which is essential for any scientist, yes. Also for anyone.
Now you will tell me that university students are not characterized by their buoyant personal economic situation. I know and I agree with you. However, I assure you that our career offers multiple opportunities to travel while spending little money. You just have to have your eyes wide open.
One of the thorns that I have stuck in since my student days is not having gone a year out with an Erasmus scholarship. It is true that I then made amends thanks to the doctorate and its short stays, but it is an experience that I would have liked to have and that I am sure would have been very fruitful both personally and professionally. So do not miss those opportunities!😉
9. Read a lotEverything you can, from your field, from related fields, from whatever. The important thing is to read. If you create a good reading habit, it will be much easier to face the terrible searches and bibliographical reviews when you have to write any report or publish a scientific article.
Also, as I have mentioned before, if you want to keep up to date with the latest developments in your field, you will have to master the language of Shakespeare, since much of everything that is published, especially in the most relevant journals, is written in English.
Finally, reading papers will help you learn how a scientific article is structured and what language is used. You will learn to recognize these and other patterns that are systematically repeated in all scientific publications, which in turn will allow you to write better articles or scientific publications. Keep up to date with what is happening in your field and how it is counted ;)
10. Publish, publish, and publishThis applies above all to research, although it is never the case 😉Any extra point in your curriculum can make a difference in a selection process. In addition, the data stored in a drawer is useless, neither for you nor for the rest of the scientific community.
Although your results will not change the paradigm of science, publish them. If you do not give for an article, you can always make a short note or a poster in a congress. Remember, each point counts😉
11. Learn to use new technologiesThat is going to be a huge advantage, both personally and competitively. In an increasingly technological world, any extra knowledge is a plus of the most interesting. Feel comfortable in the cloud, use some bibliographic reference management software, try different tools for your talks and exhibitions and incorporate the technology in your workflow.
Sometimes, mastering a certain program, being able to fix a computer or being able to launch almost any device can make you stand out and get stuck in someone's mind at the right time 😉
12. Do all the oral presentations you canWhether it is simply in class work or in the most important scientific congresses, try to make an oral presentation whenever you have the chance. This will help you improve your communication skills and allow you to gain an experience that will be very useful later on.
The final advice: Have fun!This is probably the most important advice of all, even if it does not seem so at first sight. But I've always thought that the most important thing in this life is to enjoy everything one does😉
The race is studied at a complex age, where the social environment is very important for us, human beings. The university is a fertile ground to cultivate friendships, have fun and experience some interesting experiences. Take advantage of them all.
When you start, working you will see how your time for everything is dramatically reduced and then you will start to miss your student days. That then you do not have to regret not having taken advantage of your university stage😉