It was this time last year that I was finishing my undergraduate science degree in physiology, and I had no idea what was next. I was engulfed by exam prep but the constant stress of not knowing what I was going to do the year after made me extremely anxious. Should I stay at Uni and do postgraduate study? Do I have the motivation to continue? Should I move back to Hamilton and get a job? What job can I get following my degree?
There were a million unknowns, but what I knew was that in the future I wanted a healthcare industry job, a job that helped people and I did not want to pursue a research pathway. Immediately, I googled potential jobs online, however the things I found didn’t resonate with me. Being a clinical physiologist would be nice, but was there career progression? Would I fit this position for the rest of my life?
It was pure luck that two things popped up on my Facebook feed, the first being a post from Chiasma asking for 2017 applications, the other was a post from The Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for applications for SummerLab 2017 which is a 6-week fast track free course giving a taster for the innovation and entrepreneurship field. I knew from going to Synapse and other Chiasma events in my undergraduate degree that my interests aligned well with what Chiasma offered. I liked networking and meeting people in the bioscience ecosystem, and I liked that idea that innovations - especially in the bioscience and health science sector could help millions of people globally. Therefore, I applied for both programmes and have gained tremendously from both.
Through SummerLab, I learnt to take off my analytical science cap which I was brainwashed with, and wear a new, innovation cap which involved creative out of the box thinking and a big picture outlook. We had to create a ‘start-up’ and for the next 6 weeks we did extensive market validation and learnt skills for pitching in front of big, scary investors. This programme exposed me to a plethora of new opportunities and led me to enrol in a postgraduate degree in Bioscience Enterprise in 2017.
Through Chiasma, I joined the industry team where I communicated with industry members in the New Zealand entrepreneurial ecosystem in the STEM field. I met a lot of great people within the team itself, and gained great skills like: time management, networking skills, and event organisation. I joined the Chiasma Connect programme where I was carefully matched with an industry member to be my mentor for the year. My mentor gave me invaluable advice and gave me industry based knowledge in the consulting field - which I was fascinated with. Through Chiasma, I was exposed to the right people at the right time.
Now, I am still confused at what the world has to offer in 2018, however I am continuing with Masters of Bioscience Enterprise and have a great job lined up – which I could not have got without my work in Chiasma and extracurricular work with Summer Lab. I am excited for what is in store for next year. For those who are at a crossroads, I recommend joining Chiasma. No matter which stage you are in at Uni, you will gain so much, and it will allow you to try new things and gain many skills. Good luck, and have a restful summer!
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect that of Chiasma's as an organisation.