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Suzy CA USA

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Monday, January 18, 2038

I woulda been a nun. Truth.

I think it would have been a much more fulfilling life but I think life as a scientist is/ has been a bigger challenge with more difficult lessons. Plus, there is a lot of good one can do in the world without requiring celibacy.  And why pigeonhole yourself to one religious doctrine?

I was always drawn to Mother Theresa so I probably would have joined her group. She never told people she was Catholic and or put attention on her religion. She focused her energy on being loving and compassionate to all people unconditionally. 

But like Gerty, my calling to science started young, around age eight or so, and I never questioned it.  I just went with the flow. 

My scientific life didn't work out the way I thought it would.  Too many bad decisions, mistakes, naivete, idealisms, and expectations.  But I'm still here, despite a few soul-crushing learning experiences from several PIs along the way.

I have no regrets. I would make a ton of different choices if I could go back and do it all again, but I'd still be a scientist.

 

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Evie
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Noway! You were seriously going to become a nun? Never would have guessed that.


Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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I think it would be fun to hear the story of your path to biotech.  It's always good to learn from other's mistakes (or what other people thought were mistakes).  I really have a hard time seeing myself doing another postdoc.  I almost didn't/don't want to do this one and just jump into biotech.  I'm not sure if running this lab helps or hurts my biotech prospects.  Will companies be impressed that I ran my own lab with minions? Or will they be pissed that I don't have 2 or 3 high profile papers and hold that against me?  Will this experience set me up to jump straight into overseeing a lab group in biotech, or will I have to start at the bottom at the bench again?  I don't think I could do full time bench work.  I'm so over it...


Thomas Joseph
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Interesting. I think my parents (ok, probably my mom) would have been happy if I had at least considered a vocation to the priesthood. I did consider the diaconate at one point, but the dissolution of my marriage sort of scuttled those plans (plus I really needed to get out of graduate school at that point). Alls well that ends well, right?


yannisguerra
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Interesting that you have the wisdom to separate the root of your professional love (Love of Science) from the leaves of discord (all the troubles in your way to do the Science). A lot of people don't realize that one has no fault for the other, and they leave areas of their lives that they love, just because they had bad experiences associated (but not caused) to these areas.


Suzy
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@Evie I've always been fascinated by cultures and beliefs and how they develop and why people do the things they do. I love learning about religions. I also love helping people. I feel strong empathy towards others and seeing someone suffering affects me more than the average person.

@Brian- all I can tell you is to follow your gut and the choice will be right. Don't make any decisions from fear. Choose what makes you most happy and don't worry about 10 years from now. The truth is that you can and will do what you want to do. Managing others is a major plus point in industry. So it is great if you are managing people now. It sounds like you really want to work in a company next so you should put all of your intention and focus on that.

@TJ- most certainly, not being allowed to marry in the chuch the first time around and then some of the terrible things I was told by priests regarding my marriage, was a huge reason why I left the church completely. But in retrospect, not being married in the church means I could still enter a sisterhood in my later years, I think. So maybe it will be something I'll pursue later in life....when I don't have any more crazy female hormones :-).

@yannisguerra- I did almost leave science once because I thought the hurdles were insurmountable and I felt like a big failure. But I craved the knowledge and need the intellectual challenge. Even when I was in marketing, I felt too far from science and I wasn't happy. I found a way to return again.

 


Evie
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@Jade, that is really interesting. I'm also extremely sensitive in that way, injustice is something I cannot stand. What I find so interesting though is that your approach was to join a religious organization in order to help people, while from my perspective, it was religion itself and what it bred that was causing the problem.


Suzy
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I was raised in a strong Catholic environment, being Italian, so as a child I was not aware of religious conflicts causing the pain and suffering in the world that it does.  It never occurred to me as a youngster that faith can hurt as much as help and that the rules were made by men and not the late, great, JC himself. (The beauty of childhood naivete!)

I don't go to church anymore. I don't follow any religion.

Much of the work of Sisters is focused on helping the poor, sick, homeless, and children without concern for proselytizing and without care about the faith of the people they help. I have never associated the work of nuns with negativity.

(I did work with some Carmelite nuns that were a pretty mean bunch, but I don't think it had anything to do with being Catholic.)

Mother Theresa worked with the poorest of the poor and the outcasts. She didn't judge or condemn people. Some people really do walk the walk. Others just talk the talk. Not all the religious are bad people, is what I am trying to say.

In the end I think it does not matter where you choose to focus your efforts of service to others or whether it is with a religious group, your friends, the PTA, or the LabSpaces blog site.  There are endless opportunities to help people.

When I was in graduate school and totally broke my mom used to say to me "You are your own charity. Donate to yourself."  So true.


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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Cool, quite a different career path!

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