BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science graduate, Laura, tells about her passion for space science and how that interest will shape her career, as she takes off to the International Space University.
If you’re anything like me self-doubt can be a real determination downer. So, keeping motivated is key to keep on track. During this final semester, uncertainty played a major role in continuing with my all-important MSc course or job search.
For me it had been a long process to find something that I’m truly passionate about, but it turned out to be Astrobiology. I started my higher education with a thirst for science – didn’t matter what kind – just science! I wanted to know as much as I can and as fast as I could. That progressed into the wondrous world of biology, an inside look at the human body’s own universe. But my hobby on the side was always space science. Finding the right course has to be a subject that you’re both interested and excited about. The decision to continue education is a tough one, torn between wanting to get out into the world of work and following that desire to understand hidden depths of your chosen subject.
For you, choosing that subject may present its own challenges – cost, where, what course etc – but such problems can always be solved if you’re committed to that end goal. My search began by looking at universities world-wide that provided a course suitable for me, using helpful websites such as findamasters.com. You can begin this search at any time, whether you’ve just finished your undergraduate degree or you’re still studying. And it’s OK to change your mind, with all the options out there it can be difficult to make a decision straight away. However, my advice would be to apply for as many places as possible to widen your options and have a choice to fall back on, if you don’t get accepted into your first choice. I made the mistake to choose just one course to begin with and due to current circumstances I was then unable to travel.
If such a situation should occur it’s important not to give up! Use websites like LinkedIn to connect with people and reach out. By asking the right people you will be offered help and advice according to your search. Approaching the ARU Employability Service was a useful first start for me, and their help encouraged me to take destiny into my own hands, finding out all the information I could about my chosen course. Such support from ARU gave me the confidence to contact those well known in the astrobiology field and I found that most professionals were more than happy to assist me with a few hints and tips on what I may need in order to progress into the job I wanted. So, send that email, write that letter – there will always be someone willing to help and support you with an update email or a meeting.
After months of searching I eventually came across somewhere ideal for me and took a chance by applying. After feeling a little defeated from my first course choice rejection and several job opportunities turning me away, it was hard to stay optimistic, but I wasn’t willing to give up that easily. And as luck would have it, I was offered a Skype interview. At this stage it is important to further research the university and its background, what they offer, success stories from previous students etc. As the day of my interview approached, I compiled some information about myself, what I could offer and any questions I wanted to ask. I would also recommend including some key points that might make you stand out or to show your knowledge (for me, the moons of Jupiter and the development of SpaceX). But it could be any chosen facts about your favourite subject area. Interviews can be a nerve-racking experience and interviewers will be understanding, so just breathe, you’ve got this.
A week after my interview I was delighted to accept an offer at ISU Strasbourg, to complete a Masters degree in Space Science as my next step forward. With the additional support from an ESA scholarship.
By Laura Beckett, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science graduate 2020