As this is my first time blogging, I think I should start this post by introducing myself. My name is Felipe Guapo. I am a 23 year old Brazilian science graduate and I have just begun my time abroad living in Ireland.
A career in science is not unattainable
Why have I chosen the topic of careers in science for this blog? Because I hope that my post might be accessible, encouraging and inspirational to any young scientists that may come across it.
I want to share the highs and lows, fears and hopes and genuine experiences associated with moving my life across the world in pursuit of my research career. Hopefully, this blog could be of some use to any other aspiring researchers who have an interest in studying abroad.
I started my career studying biology at the “Universidade Federal de São Carlos”, Brazil.
Back then, just like every first year student, I had no idea where my study of biology would take me. The one thing I did know was that I had absolutely no regrets about choosing biology as a study and career option as I have always been fascinated by science and nature.
Nevertheless, the way was not always easy and a series of unexpected events completely changed the road I once thought I would follow.
To those used to research and academic progression, doing a Masters and a PhD after your degree seems like the most logical choice.
But what most people do not talk about is of the series of questions and uncertainties that drives this whole process.
Deciding on a career that may take 10 years of your life is not easy. This is especially true when that career that is so poorly understood by society, that insists on addressing these professionals who are experts in their own fields of study as students.
I chose that road, and although my history is pretty short, as I am only at the beginning of my research journey I can say with confidence that my expectations have all been by far overcome.
Who could have foreseen that today I would be starting my PhD abroad in a great university?
That’s right, 2016 is the year I start my PhD studies in Maynooth University, National University of Ireland.
Differently than what I have planned, I am starting my PhD without having a Masters degree. This, to be honest, scared me for a long time. I think most of us are used to that feeling of being incapable of great things. I surely was, but I am happy because this is a great accomplishment that I have never dreamed about.
To us Brazilians, it is not that easy to get a grant to study and to do research in more developed countries like Ireland. Although I am conscious of all the energy and effort it took me to put together an application, I know that in the end, I also got lucky.
For that I have also to thank my funding body (Science Without Borders, CNPq) and my supervisor Dr Jim Carolan for the help he provided.
In these last months I had all my plans thrown into a tornado. But what emerged from that confusion is good, it is excellent. I took risks and it was worth it.
Sometimes all you need is the courage to accept and follow your new path. A whole new world is open to me now. And this was only possible because I accepted the challenge to launch myself as a young scientist into a new research system.
So to all new scientists out there, remember what science is all about! It is about curiosity, it is about being an explorer. So be scared, but don’t give in to that feeling. Be a scientist today!