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The point of it all

The Point

CREDIT: Robert Neubecker

It seems like a rite of passage now for Ph.D. students: confronting the harsh prospects of academic careers. I'm just at the beginning of my doctorate at New York University (NYU) in New York City, but already my peers are concerned about how to survive within academic institutions. Our career paths are described as risky undertakings, littered with pitfalls and wrong turns, and the journey can often lead to a dead end. At first I shared their anxiety, but I started to wonder about how this would affect my development as a scientist. How can one produce the best science while focusing on survival? If students remain in a constant state of competitiveness, they may end up trading their creativity for a shortsighted scramble for results. Would merely surviving fulfill my goals? (Keep reading at Science.)