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I want to be a professor. Am I crazy?

Rachelle J. Bienstock rachelle at picard.niehs.nih.gov
Fri Oct 13 10:48:14 EST 1995

You might try working for a professor or in a lab.
doing research.  Doing original scientific research
is a far cry from taking a course or having interest
in the subject.  Also, the suggestion to look at the
current issue of Science is a good one...it is extremely
difficult and competitive to get a tenure track university
position.  In a major research university in the fields
with which I am familiar (chemistry, biochemistry) there
are typically 200-400 applicants for each position.  And
to acquire tenure one must be able to secure major grant
funding...Age has less to do with it then publication list
and the ability to demonstrate that you can secure funding
from a major grant funding agency (NIH, NSF or whatever their
Canadian equivalents are).  Remember if you have a husband/
significant other and children that you will be competing
against single people in their twenties who work day and
night in the lab. as grad students and postdocs...This
may be difficult for a husband/significant other to understand
or tolerate particularly if they are not in the sciences...

What I'm saying applies to only the hard sciences- Biology,
Chemistry, Physics...which are the departments and areas with
which I have had direct experience...It may not apply for
social science areas...

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