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Corbin Taylor
Corbin Taylor

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My Final Year Of Graduate School And Finding A New Path Forward

This is my first post on Dev, so forgive me if it seems unpolished or if I somehow am missing some common conventions. Any guidance or constructive criticism is welcomed.

I am writing this post in the Fall Semester of my last year as a PhD student in Astrophysics. I have spent twelve years on my undergraduate and graduate degrees, and have years of experience analyzing data and creating computer simulations to better understand the Universe. This subject has become, like many academics I encounter, intertwined with my own personal identity.

While I am very proud of my accomplishments as a student and a scientist, I have come to an uncomfortable realization over the last year. After years of stress, late nights, and sacrificing for my scientific work, I don't know if I want to be an Astrophysicist any longer.

That is very hard to admit to myself, but I slowly am letting myself have that freedom to explore who I really want to become. My great passion for computer programming and problem solving led me to start to learn more about Software Engineering, to learn some basic Computer Science, Algorithms, and Web Development. I participated in Hacktoberfest, got involved (and am now a member of) an open source JavaScript project, and have joined the wonderful Dev community.

I feel happy. I feel a passion again that I thought I had lost.

I am still working on changing my mindset. I still feel at times like I'm a bit crazy, or that I'm not good enough to make that kind of abrupt transition from pure research into industry. I have always been one to encourage my friends to follow their happiness and to believe in themselves, and I need to learn to take my own advice.

I am writing this post to tell people like me, people who might be unhappy with their current circumstances, that it is okay. We are often much deeper and much more capable than we often think of ourselves.

Give yourself the freedom to explore your interests and passions, for it is there where you may start to construct a path forward.

I have a long path ahead of me, but I am happy to begin my journey.

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