The wrong decision that provided the answer

by Jamie Meyer

In July of 2021 I had no idea what I wanted to do! I was almost finishing my BSc and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. In 2019 started that BSc for a specific reason and I knew exactly what I wanted to do… then slowly I realised that maybe what I originally had in mind wasn’t for me. I still enjoyed the work and found it interesting so I kept with it with the hopes of finding something I would be truly passionate about, and I would have direction again. Time passed and still I hadn’t found that thing that made me think, this is what I want to do! So, July came, and applications were due and in a whirlwind of panic, confusion and reading and rereading the prospectus I ended up applying for… Radiobiology and Bioinformatics??? I’m not even sure what I was thinking.

At the beginning of the year, I had to choose between the two and I ended up choosing bioinformatics because I felt radiobiology was maybe too streamlined and I wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted to go into… so Bioinformatics it is. Now, I have never been a big computer person, but I also thought I’d never given it a proper try. I enjoyed the limited coding we had done in our undergrad, so maybe I’ll enjoy this?

Well, I think I can now definitively say, I gave it a go and it is not for me! The coding is all fun and rewarding when it works but I feel pretty helpless when there are errors I don’t know how to fix. I feel this is exacerbated by the fact that Bioinformatics has been largely online, and I live alone so it’s just been me by myself in my room against this whole degree that I’ve come to accept that I’m just not that good at.

That may sound a bit dramatic, it hasn’t all been terrible, I’ve actually enjoyed most parts of this degree. I’ve come to realise that I thoroughly enjoy research and putting together presentations and proposals. Even better through the ups and downs of this year I have been able to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses and through a chance encounter with a random lady, I think I’ve found a career in science I’d like to pursue. Luckily the skills I have developed in this degree also apply to the field I would like to go into next.

So, although I do not wish to continue in the field of bioinformatics, I consider this year a success, because it has challenged me, taught me new skills, and presented me with a career path that made me think: This is what I want to do.

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