Ashley Stenzel’s essay about the joys and challenges of raising two daughters while working toward a Ph.D. struck a chord with readers. “Good to know I’m not alone in this struggle. The guilt can be horrible,” one reader wrote on Science’s Facebook page earlier this month. “I loved every word of the story. As a graduate student with a child I can totally relate,” wrote another.
Stenzel’s piece was one of 51 essays we published this year as part of our ongoing Working Life series, which shines a spotlight on personal and professional challenges that scientists face as they pursue their careers. As the year draws to a close, we put together a list of our 10 most popular essays of 2019. Read on to find out about a disastrous postdoc experience, an eye-opening trip abroad, unexpected career transitions, and more.
Vivienne Tam argued that it’s important for grad students to make time for casual conversations with peers.
Sally Hoskins reflected on how she challenged students to think beyond the facts during her career as a college professor.
Kate Bredbenner wrote that thesis defenses and committee meetings are stressful enough without the added expectation of bringing food.
Adriana Romero-Olivares offered three principles for providing constructive, respectful feedback during the peer-review process.
Victor Wong wrote that he should have quit his first postdoc and moved on much sooner.
Mattias Björnmalm reflected on why it’s important to take time away from work.
Alan Chambers recounted how an email and the pressure to publish led him astray.
Jessica Sagers argued that having to pay conference expenses up front from personal accounts is a significant burden for early-career researchers.
Hendrik Huthoff wrote that leaving his first Ph.D. program was one of the most important professional decisions he ever made.
Ashley Stenzel realized that her daughters have benefited from her pursuit of higher education.
If you have an interesting career story that you’d like to share, feel free to email us at SciCareerEditor@aaas.org. Please also check out our guidelines for writing and submitting Working Life essays here.