You must be thinking “that’s not possible”, as a student you cannot create opportunities in academia. But let me tell you how you (yes you, not your supervisor) can integrate several opportunities into your education.
Looking back, I remember what it was like to be a girl scout. The camps’ main focus was instilling in us the feelings of independence and survival. These times were very crucial to my upbringing and introduced in me the skill of creating new tools from whatsoever was available in order to grow.
Throughout my education, I have not always found courses or trainings that fit particularly with my interests (like neuroethics). And that makes sense, because educational establishments are a “one size fits all” structure, they are not designed to fit individual interests. But as students, we have a variety of topics that fascinate us, and our future career highly depends on the opportunities that come our way, early on.
The first opportunity I created as a student was founding a neuroethics symposium which later became an integral part of my master’s program. Creating opportunities became addictive, and they were growing like a snowball. Every opportunity I created for myself, beget another opportunity (including a podcast launched earlier this year).
Sometimes creating an opportunity was one email away. At other times, I was faced with no answer or even a rejection. But I persevered, in belief of the path I was creating for myself. This opportunity didn’t work out? No problem, I’ll create a new one! That was my mindset.
So, if I can offer you some advice, let it be those three words: Take Initiative, Be Creative, Always Proactive. Opportunities might surely come knocking at your door, but when? Nobody knows for sure. Creating an opportunity here and now is far more rewarding, way more valuable for both yourself and your career.
Katherine Bassil, PhD at the department of psychiatry and neuropsychology