Graduate school is done. I’ve poured over two years into earning a masters degree in kinesiology and I am very proud of the work I produced, the friendships I made, and the growth I experienced.
As I begin to process my time as a grad student and how it will transition my career, I keep asking myself what I learned. The coursework wasn’t as straight forward as I was expecting. But the two years taught me a ton about myself and the process of learning and working. I’m a naturally reflective person and so when I say “learning and working” I mean “how will I take what I’ve learned and apply it to a career?” This begins with a mental framework.
I keep visualizing a bridge. Graduate school was full of scientific papers and grant proposals. A bunch of the material was stuff I will never look at again. And all along the way I kept asking myself, “how do I apply this to make people healthier?” I learned from and worked along side brilliant professors, researchers, and other graduate students. Most of them are spending their careers in research, conducting experiments and writing in scientific journals. I don’t have a passion for that. But each semester I was coming across literature and data that was begging me to be applied to the clinical world. I often used the term clinical because we worked with so many doctors and it was easy to compare the research world with the clinical hospitals. This is where the bridge kept showing up in my head.
The scientific community is not perfect. They are not all-knowing. When you get into many of the topics we learn that we don’t know as much as we think we do. Or that there are conflicting reports about an issue. Nonetheless, there are brilliant papers and concepts in the literature that need to see the light of day. They need me to get them into the real world so that they can help make people healthier. And who knows, maybe my applications will lead to follow-up studies so we can make our adjustments and make the field even better.
The next step isn’t clear to me. But I am confident that I’m about to create a bridge to connect the scientific community with the real world.