Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Making a Difference

I have been out of India for just 3 years, doing my undergrad here in NUS in a subject that I love - life sciences. And its been an incredible experience, so incredible that I have higher goals now than when I started off. And I am working like crazy to acheive them. But when I stop for a minute and try to visualize where I will be 10 years down the road, I kinda hit a road block. A part of me says (rather reluctantly, much to my surprise) that I will be working in India, maybe I will get a faculty position in one of the IITs. Another part of me says (rather eagerly) that I would have probably settled down some place else where life science research is done best. Which of course means that I would be a part of the infamous "brain drain" problem. But the more I think about it, the more I realise that even though I love my country etc etc, I love life sciences even more and that working in India will probably not satisfy my hunger in this area. It makes a huge difference to me because I want my career to be worth it at the end. The problem is, I don't know how to define the phrase "worth it".

So what really makes someone's career "worth it" all? Is it really necessary to be in places like Stanford, Harvard etc to make a difference? Maybe the answer is yes, if its to make a difference in life sciences in particular. But to make a difference overall?

Hypothetical situation 1 - there exists such as thing as "objective" answer to the question I shall pose below.

Hypothetical situation 2 - I work in USA in some prestigious place and win the Nobel Prize for some ground breaking discovery in cell signaling. (don't laugh!). There is this other person X, who works in one of the IITs as a professor, also a life science person working in cell signaling, no nobel prize but has 5-6 students who he inspired to reach great heights.

In an objective world, whose life was more worth it at the end? The girl in the US with the nobel prize or the prof in IIT who changes lives?

This is my 150th post.... finally! :P And it wasn't a pointless post just to increase the number to 150!!! ;) :D :P


Clueless said...

Why can't you be the girl in the US who won a Nobel Prize, thereby changing the lives of not only the students working under her, but also several others in different parts of the world who have been inspired be her work? :)

Clueless said...

Oh! And congratulations on reaching 150 posts! This calls for a celebration! :D *clink*


Hey, you're not the only one who can get drunk at parties! :D

zav said...

your blog is good. i have take risk to visit your blog (during office hrs,and using a onion router )i am sure you r not from Singapore :p

doublehead said...

I would pick the nobel prize winner because on the road to nobel prize the person would have shaped many minds and aftr winning it he/she would become a rol model and continue to inspire hundreds of youngsters. People do consider nobel laureautes as role models. So keep dreaming and may your dreams come true some day. All the best wishes for that.

Suryasach said...

girl in the US with the nobel prize, sounds better.

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anu said...

Good Post! I think the key is the urge to make a difference, and actually achieving to do so. Be it as a nobel laureate, or as an architect of several lives. It is great that you have the drive and need to make a difference. Keep that spirit, and you shall do amazing!!

Suryasach said...

Its been three years since you wrote this, are you on your way to getting noble prize?