This bit resonated with me. Maybe it’s because between search committees,grad school applications, fellowship applications, research applications, I’m often acutely aware that I have to make decisions on very little information.
So really, when you hit that “Y”, that divide, you have to go with the inside. Because on the outside, no one knows what you know. No one knows what you know inside, no one has the design that you’ve been dreaming with in your mind and in your heart. You have that. And even though the path may not be a hundred percent clear, you have to learn to trust your uncertain convictions.
When you’re seeking advice, it can be very helpful to get outside opinions. And in academia, there are no shortage of people who are willing to offer us opinions: our colleagues, our PIs, our fellow students, what have you. Their pressure to take a certain path in your career can be intense. You hear a lot of stories of people pressuring their students and post-docs into a lab, a program, or something that the boss thinks will be great.
But as Victoria reminds us, no matter how much experience and expertise someone has, opinions from someone on the outside is always going to be imperfect. They can never have all the information. They don’t know what you know.
You do not know the end of your story
Are you about to take the path you don’t really want?