Could I actually be a full time science communicator?

‘What do you want to do after your PhD?’

Those words that fill a final year PhD student with dread, panic and worry!

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When I’ve been asked this question I have always said that I will probably stay in research. Why? Because I love it! I love being able to make world first discoveries no matter how niche my research is or how frustrating the science world can get.

But is this a safe option?

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I also love this new world that I’ve jumped into – the science communication world. I started this blog and now trying out social media more and other methods like Youtube or zines to share my research, the life of a scientist and science generally.

I’ve always thought about this as a hobby, or something that might help me grow in my research career. But this weekend I’ve actually thought could this be a full time career for me?

I never considered that it could be a career for me because a) I didn’t know what life as a science communicator involved and b) I didn’t know if I had the skills or ability to do it. But this weekend I got a huge confidence boost. One of my new scicomm friends Heidi included me in her latest blog post – 6 science communicators that I’m learning fromΒ – alongisde some other sci-commers who are absolutely slaying what they do! I was so overwhelmed to be included amongst these other names. This coupled with me passing the 3000 follower mark on Instagram –Β (yes! 3000! How crazy!? Thanks to each and every one of you who wants to share my science adventures)Β – yesterday had me feeling the happiest I had in a long while!

But it got me thinking. Am I actually a good science communicator? Is what I’m sharing in blogs and social media posts actually being well received? I love sharing science and really don’t want to give it up! So, could I actually do it full time? Do I even want to do it full time?

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I am heading into that final year of my PhD where I ultimately will have to make that decision: what am I going to do once I’ve finished and I actually have to leave education! Do I stay in research and continue communicating my research and lab life, or do I leave the bench and move into science communication? Do I take the safe option or more of a risk?

I guess only I can answer that question. At the moment, I still have no idea, but this weekend has given me the confidence to actually properly consider a career in science communication.

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I am still learning every day as a science communicator and a scientist. I’m getting more and more opportunities as a science communicator and a scientist. So, I guess I will have to see what I can learn and achieve in this next year before making my decision as there are still so many questions flying around in my head:

What would I actually do?

Is it even a possibility or me?

Will I miss research?

Will I regret not doing it?

Would that mean I have failed as a scientist?

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Has anyone else had this dilemma? Has anyone got any advice for switching from the lab bench to the scicomm stage? Or has anyone got some tips on how I can try and find out if a career in science communication is for me before I cross that bridge?

For now, I will continue to love the research that I’m doing and I will continue to share my research and life as a scientist with everyone – because I love doing both! But I’m inspired!

Science love.

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Keep up to date on my life as a scientist and Β my science communication efforts with Soph talks Science on Facebook,Β TwitterΒ and Instagram.

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4 thoughts on “Could I actually be a full time science communicator?

  1. Hi! Congrats on your success!! πŸ™‚ Since recently I consider Sci Comm carrier as well. I think it is a good option if for example lab work used to overwhelm you or you feel too much responsibility for lab work or just simply do not like non-fixed ours in laboratory carrier. Yeah but have the same dilemma as you. I am looking forward to seeing what’s going to be your final decision πŸ™‚ Best luck! Agata

  2. Ahh I feel the same! You will be an awesome science communicator though – you’re a great inspiration! Well done on your 3K followers, that’s awesome and well deserved πŸ™‚

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