We are often asked by prospective students “What are the career paths that the TRP trains students for?” or “What jobs can you get when you’re done?” I have often been frustrated by this line of questioning. Not because I do not believe that students at any stage of their careers (whether at the beginning, middle or end) should not be engaged in career planning—in fact, this is a mechanism that we have built into the program and are still trying very hard to improve—but because this is entirely the wrong perspective and motivation for considering the TRP.
The point is that TRP is a guided mechanism, a platform for you to learn and explore your passion and ideas. Our goal is to challenge students to stretch their perspectives, open themselves up to new points of view, and learn to be better more creative and innovative problem-solvers. We provide you with a framework for tackling translation, a community for you to practice and engage with; access to institutional resources and personnel, and we provide you with guidance and help facilitate your learning. BUT it is you who must provide the direction, the drive and the curiosity to use the opportunities to establish your trajectory, your career, your own individual development plan.
The TRP is about self-directed learners who want to learn to deal with complexity and navigate ambiguities in complex problem spaces as they unfold. The TRP is about adapting, collaborating and asking for help. It is about learning to be your own guide and your own champion. It is about gaining the confidence and resilience to take risks and learn from faulty strategies. It is about you learning to become the better you that you want to become. It is about the process of growing and learning.
So, the answer to what career path or job the TRP can help you attain is meaningless–TRP can help in just about any career path. Some of our students have gone on to find jobs in hospitals, industry, and government organization. Others have changed they way they practice medicine or the way they approach patient care; others will do things I cannot even yet imagine or articulate. The real question is “How will you use the TRP to shape your potential?”
What are your passions? What are your goals? What career or job will you attain or improve or develop if you learn to apply the competencies and skills you gain through the TRP? Those are much more important questions that will actually help YOU answer what career path you should plan for, what job you should decide to attain, or what pivot you may want to make in your life’s journey.
That is at the heart of our program and our philosophy.
Joseph Ferenbok, PhD
Translational Research Program in Health Science,
Institute of Medical Science