Biology Flasks

A Degree Doesn’t Define Your Career

My name is Chris Mastris. I’m a biology graduate. So why am I writing a blog about the world of digital? Simple: a degree doesn’t have to define your career.

 

Life After Graduating Isn’t Always Easy

 
After graduating, your life changes dramatically.

 
Gone are the days of study, and focus turns to defining your life goals and entering the professional world. For some people, preparations have been made, their path is clear, and they are on their way towards finding a graduate job and starting their career. That isn’t to say that it will be easy, but they have a clear direction after finishing their degree- and good luck to them! For others… it isn’t always so straightforward.

 
As you might have guessed, I fall into the second category. However, I believe that exploring the opportunities beyond the subject of your studies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The subject of your degree doesn’t have to define your career, even if following an unconventional path might be less obvious and more challenging. With that in mind, I’m writing this blog to document my adventure into the world of digital marketing, including my insights and the challenges I might face.

 

My Degree… in Biology

 
Before we skip to the present, I want to share my own journey as a graduate, and explore why I’m now pursuing something that is largely unrelated to my degree.

 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with what you want to do for the rest of your life: I’m sure that you’ll be happier and more successful because of it.

 
I graduated from the University of Exeter in July 2015 with a degree in Biological Sciences. So why am I writing a blog about digital marketing? Throughout the majority of my degree, I was certain that I’d be pursuing a career in laboratory research, excited at the prospect of contributing to science. I’ve always had a passion for science, and I still do. My biology degree was challenging (occasionally infuriating) but ultimately rewarding, and I’m glad that I dedicated that part of my life to the experience. That may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. It taught me a lot, beyond the specifics of the subject matter, and allowed me to develop skills that I’ll value for the rest of my life.

 
Despite that, towards the end of my final year and after completing my research project, I was beginning to realise that a career in biology isn’t what I want. I have a lot of respect for those who dedicate themselves to research, and science will always stay with me as an interest and a mindset… but it isn’t my future. I just needed to overcome the notion that I had to get a job that was directly related to my degree.

 
I hope that I can encourage any recent graduates – or anyone else who is uncertain about their future – to really consider their career options, rather than ending up in a job that they hate just because they believe that their degree must dictate their career. The massive variety of fields can be intimidating for anyone unsure of where their future lies, but equally this variety provides a wealth of opportunity to choose from. Don’t be afraid to experiment with what you want to do for the rest of your life: I’m sure that you’ll be happier and more successful because of it.

 

Discovering Digital

 
So, what next? After the thrill of finally graduating, I was at a crossroads (whoops, another cliché), paralysed by the endless job opportunities to choose from. I’ll be honest: after thinking for years that I was going into research, I didn’t know what to do.

 
While I considered my options, I decided to try something that I was curious about: I learned some programming. It was interesting, very frustrating at times (the bugs!), but ultimately I enjoyed the logical yet creative nature of it. However, after considering development as a potential career, I decided that I had different aspirations.

 
Python Programming

 
In October 2015, I started volunteering at a local community organisation, which led to my current role as the Publicity & Communications Officer. It’s been an interesting mixture of running a Facebook page, website editing, and email publicity, involving bits of copywriting, image editing, and a variety of other activities as well. And, you know what I found? It was refreshing to do something completely different. So, on a whim, I signed up for a short online course about marketing. I loved it… and my interest has only grown from there.

 
Since getting an appetite for digital, I’ve submerged myself in the culture, the techniques, and the tools. I’m trying to learn as much as I can while simultaneously trying things out for myself. Practice writing a blog? Check.

 
Digital marketing encompasses the creativity I want to express, the analytical approach that I’ve developed, and the opportunity to help businesses delight their customers. I’ve finally found my future career.

 
Note: last updated 29th October 2016 to re-format and edit the content a bit.

 

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