Ask, and You Shall Receive

You’ll never know if you don’t try.  The biggest regrets you’ll have in life are risks you don’t take.

There are a ton of cliché lines I can throw at you – but instead, I’ll share with you a little story about taking risks and receiving better-than-expected returns.

I started my master’s only a couple of months ago – I was excited about the prospect of starting some cool research in a new lab.  However, as time progressed, I began to realize that the work I was doing was far off from my expectations.  I found myself becoming less and less motivated, the sparks of interest that I had lit at the beginning of the year began to die out one by one.  I reached a point where I thought I only had two choices – call it quits, or suck it up and go through the next couple years drudgingly just to attach the three letters “MSc” behind my name.  Little did I know that the answer to my troubles was a simple knock on the door away. (more…)

“To Understand Man Himself”

If you walk up University Ave to the Montreal Neurological Institute, you will see a stone plaque right outside the front doors with a quote by the famous Dr. Wilder Penfield – “The problem of neurology is to understand man himself”.  That’s precisely what drew me to neuroscience in the first place.  I’ve always imagined myself to be a bit of a philosopher – always seeking to understand why we do the things we do, where we’ve come from, and why we as a species have come to be the way we are.  After years of asking myself these questions, I realized a perfect place to start searching for the answers was in the study of the brain.

Our brain is a beautifully complex yet intricately connected super-computer – the sheer number of connections alone is enough to baffle even the sharpest of minds.  It’s fascinating that this chunk of meat in our heads is responsible for the development of civilization, the exploration of space, the creation of technology, and constant innovation.
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Lost in Limbo

Do you want to be a baker/rockstar/writer?  I’m pretty sure most of you have at least thought of some crazy job alternative at some point in your academic career.  I know I have…more than once.  For a lot of us, grad school is a sort of limbo. We’re no longer undergrads but we aren’t exactly in the workforce either. It’s somewhere between school and the rest of our lives.

Grad school is a time when a lot of us aren’t too sure if what we’re doing is something we want to pursue for the rest of our lives. Personally, though I am enjoying almost every moment of it, I often ask myself:  “Is this what I want to do for the next x number of years?  Do I really want a career in academia?  What else is out there?” I’m sure these are questions other grad students are familiar with. It’s interesting to hear why people decided on grad school, because answers range anywhere from: “I love what I’m studying” to “couldn’t think of anything else to do”.  Regardless of why we’re here, the one commonality is the uncertainty when it comes to life after grad school. What will I do? Get a ‘real’ job? Travel?  Keep doing the research thing?

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