• Question: When did you decide that was the career path you wanted to take ?

    Asked by libbybushell4 to David, Thiloka, Shonna, Shobhana, Ryan, Ross, Rebecca, Rachel, Patrick, Nina, MattyB, Matthew, Marianne, Lorena, Kate, Kaitlin, James, Ettie, Emmanuelle, Deepak, Anabel, Ambre, Alex, AlexAgrotis, Aina on 5 Jun 2019. This question was also asked by littleleah, chanel29.
    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      I think I’d always wanted to be a scientist since I was about 3 (not that I really knew what one was back then) but I suppose I firmly decided it was my goal once I was around 11 or 12. This was the time when our school told us we had to decide what we wanted to do, which is very early in my opinion, and it informed all my GCSE and A level choices after that! I had phases where I was convinced I wanted to do all sorts of other jobs but a scientist is the one that survived the test of time.

    • Photo: Ross Hill

      Ross Hill answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      Quite late really. At school I always had a great interest in science but I never really though I could become a scientist, I wasn’t really exposed to the level of careers advice that would open my eyes to these possibilities until I went to University.

      My advice would be to follow your interests. I always loved biology and medical science programmes, so I enrolled onto a medical research BSc programme at Bristol University. The four years I spent in Bristol totally transformed my view on career paths, I truly fell in love with lab work and the process of scientific discovery. So I didn’t really commit to being a scientist until I was 19-20 years old.

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      I think my PhD really gave me my first taste of driving and managing my own research project, and when you dedicate yourself to something like that, it’s very hard to give up on it, even when things aren’t going well. My PhD confirmed for me that I wanted to be both a clinician and a scientist, and also the research fields that I was most interested in.

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      I wanted to be a doctor from about the age of 9, but my exact career path and my research areas have evolved and developed with me based on the opportunities that have become available, and will continue to change and evolve. Life as a scientist is very much a journey. I doubt many scientists could have told you as a teenager exactly what they’d be studying later on, so dont be afraid of not knowing exactly at the moment.

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      I don’t ever really remember having a game plan for my life. Before I started my A-levels, I visited India with my family over the summer holidays – something changed in me when I got back from that holiday – it was the first time I had been exposed to that level of poverty and illness – and I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I chose science A-levels and decided to apply to medical school. After qualifying as a doctor, I worked in different areas of medicine and really loved working with children and also enjoyed operating in the operating theatre. I decided to combine these two areas to be a surgeon for children. As I travelled more and worked overseas as a doctor, I learnt more about the importance of preventing illness and primary care, and followed my curiosity again to learn more about these areas and global health. I have always followed my joy and my curiosity, which has guided my career path.

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 6 Jun 2019:


      To be honest, my only real goal in High School was to go to university. I didn’t really know what I would study, but I always enjoyed science (especially biology), so I thought that I would probably do something to do with that.
      I suppose that I kid of just fell into science. I picked biology and chemistry at A-level (along with Archaeology, which was super fun and Psychology which definitely wasn’t) and did really well in biology.
      I liked the idea of medicine but didn’t want to be a doctor so I decided to study pharmacology at university. Pharmacology is the science of making new medicines and understanding how they work. But in my 1st year of uni I decided I didn’t really want to be a pharmacologist. It was too restrictive. So I changed to a biomedical sciences degree .You can usually change after your first year because all biology courses have the same first year.
      In my second year, I had my first lecture series on reproduction, which I really enjoyed. After that, I did a research project in a pregnancy research lab and I was hooked!

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 6 Jun 2019:


      I was interested in Science from when I was a child, but decided upon my career to being a scientist when I was in my final year of GCSE’s. It’s what influenced me to take the A-Levels that I chose. I originally wanted to go into clinical work and not research, but after 10 years working in hospital labs and becoming more and more involved in trials and patient clinics, I wanted to do more to help those with the diseases and things that I was seeing present in the hospital and so that was when I decided to move into research.

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 6 Jun 2019:


      It was towards the end of my Undergraduate degree. I studied Biology at University because I enjoyed it. I couldn’t understand why a number of my friends and classmates were going off to do jobs that didn’t involve science, I wanted to do something with my degree and continue building on what I’d just spent 4 years learning.

    • Photo: Ettie Unwin

      Ettie Unwin answered on 6 Jun 2019:


      I decided I wanted to study for a PhD during my undergraduate degree because I really liked learning and wanted to continue pushing the boundaries of science. At that point I never dreamed I would be working on diseases! That only happened last year when I was looking for a job.

    • Photo: James Streetley

      James Streetley answered on 6 Jun 2019:


      I decided I wanted to be a scientist when I picking what to study in Sixth Form, choosing to focus on biology, chemistry and maths. That wasn’t really the final decision though, as I had a brief wobble while at university, thinking I wanted to change and work in the theatre instead. Then I found research during my research project and got hooked.

      My career path is still changing though. I recently switched from being a researcher to working in research support, helping researchers do experiments. And at 30 years old, I still have at least another 35 years left working, so this isn’t the final career path yet either. These things are constantly changing and its ok to move around and shift focus.

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 7 Jun 2019:


      I’ve always been fascinated in science. So I suppose, since I was very young! But I don’t think there was a specific time that I thought “I know what I want to be”. I just kept studying what I liked because I thought it was interesting and the continued down the career path because of the opportunities that I was either pointed to by my mentors or that I found myself.

    • Photo: Rachel Hardy

      Rachel Hardy answered on 8 Jun 2019:


      I always loved science at school, and took all 3 main science subjects at A level. I was always fascinated by the fact that there are so many unanswered questions and unknowns with science. I felt that by following some form of scientific career, I would be able to help make a real difference in furthering scientific understanding. It wasn’t until I did a one year placement at a pharmaceutical company, as part of my university course that I decided I wanted to be a research scientist in a lab. I really enjoyed having my own research project, and having to figure out problems/design experiments myself. This lead me to do a PhD, which I am really enjoying so far. I hope to carry on my career as a research scientist after my PhD, and continue discovering new things 🙂

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 9 Jun 2019:


      I knew I wanted to study Medicine from the age of about 7 years. However, I did not know much about research within Medicine. I only decided on looking into a research project during my medical training when I embarked on a MRes which turned into a PhD. This helped me realise that I wanted to pursue research alongside clinical training.

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