So I guess I’ll start off with my own update, having disappeared for a while!
After finally being offered a training contract to practice as a patent attorney, I decided to pass the offer to work in oncology. I found that I am better placed in the forefront of scientific research after spending time with various patent attorneys in blue chip firms to pharmaceutical companies. It’s not a decision I made overnight and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to do so without a clear plan and experience to back it up.
Now, working in drug development, I enjoy working closely with both the medical and corporate side of research. On a day to day basis, I work with the data management team to help handle the safety of patients’ treatment by reviewing imaging scans, histopathology reports to adverse events occurring whilst on treatment. It is vital to follow the progression of a patients’ cancer in ensuring the most effective treatment plans are planned liaising with their referring doctors. I have at times found it hard to find RIP notifications of patients having read cases as far back as 2008. Overall, the team makes it all worthwhile as everyone is approachable and the abundance of food served doesn’t hurt!
If you think you will leave lectures and exams behind in university… think again. I am constantly training on new databases and just attended a lecture last week on the future of immunotherapy. I can say I definitely appreciated the lecture more than when I was at university but the training not so much! You also learn to network quickly with a whole range of people from different organisations as science is a highly regulated field and we all work, somewhat, in sync with each other. You will find some people are really helpful and others need to be chased up to get results in time. At the end of the day, I like to leave work knowing I’ve used skills from my degree and enjoy my free time away from all things science.
Regardless, I enjoy what I am a part of and can say I am glad I have taken the time out of studying to see how it all works in the real world, so even if it seems scary at first, I would definitely recommend a gap year – as long at it is productive!
P.S. Please find my post on using QMUL careers service if you need help, here.