You have a good mind—use it!


Alice and her friends answer questions that you don’t want to ask your preceptor, peer, or colleagues regarding your career in science.

Dear Alice,

Being depressed when you are in such a situation is not at all surprising. Anyone would be.

Now I am confused. If I go back home, prospects of finding a position are dim. If I stay, there is no guarantee that things will improve. What should I do?

With best regards,

—Rohit

Being depressed when you are in such a situation is not at all surprising. Anyone would be.

Dear Rohit,

You have given me very little information on which to base my advice. How long have you been in Israel? Why are things going poorly professionally? Is the research not working, or is it just going slowly? Is the chemistry between you and your mentor merely poor, or is it disastrous? Why are things going poorly in your personal life? Do you lack friends, or are you just homesick? What caused you to go to the doctor?

Nonetheless, I will try to provide some advice. Being depressed when you are in such a situation is not at all surprising. Anyone would be. If you are clinically depressed, you should be treated by a physician and not trying to solve your problems through an advice column.

But stop for a moment and examine your situation dispassionately. You have a Ph.D. and somehow, coming from India, you have landed a position in Israel. These are important accomplishments, against the usual odds, and you should take some comfort from that.

As for your current problems, you need to separate them out individually and see how you might change or adapt to each of them, rather than letting them overwhelm you, paralyze you, and make rational analysis impossible. Use the resources around you: the professors in your department, your friends and fellow postdocs, career counselors at your institution, and Indian compatriots. Your friends and family at home may be of some help. Collecting advice from different perspectives should help you make up your own mind.

Believe in yourself. You have been given a good mind. Use it.

—Alice

Educating outside the classroom

A union contract for NYU’s graduate assistants