For many students extracurricular activities are something that is as important as their studies. Many find it natural to take part in activities or events (not hobbies) that are related to school but not necessarily directly related to their studies.
In my case, I unfortunately have to admit that during my entire undergrad period as a molecular biology student and part of my PhD studies, extracurricular activities was something I found zero interest in. Why you may ask? The simple reason for that was because “why waste time on something unrelated to my studies/work, when I could study or work more on my research project?” Basically I was a complete science nerd. Now some of you maybe wonder why I should write a blog post about this issue, is it really a big deal? Well, for me it is and I know/met students that have similar views that I used to have.
One of the first activities and probably the most important one was an evening course I took called “From Science to Business – concepts in biotechnology” arranged by Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship (SSES), which KI is part of. During the course several scientists-turned-entrepreneurs, shared their journey on how they turned an idea on a paper into a real business. This was extremely inspiring given the fact that I had little interest in business/entrepreneurship at the time. Another good thing about the course was the variety of course participants. Not only were there people from KI, but also people with other backgrounds like economics/business, law, communication etc. These people bring different perspectives on things that I normally don’t get exposed to because I almost exclusively only meet scientists at work. They ask questions about scientific matters that I never have thought about.
The best thing about this course though was that I met one of my current business partners. Yes you read correctly: business partners. I am starting my own business or at least hope to. We are still in the idea phase. Being involved in this entrepreneurial project is one of the most challenging but also one of the most fun thing I’ve ever been involved in. My partners and me have met so many driven entrepreneurs (people we previously rarely interacted with) and learnt from them. How do you write a business plan? How do you make a market analysis? How do you pitch your idea to investors? These are some things that I’ve never been faced with until now by being involved in this project and it’s lots of fun. We’ve participated in Venture Cup, a leading competition for Swedish entrepreneurs, which was a great experience. I would never have imagined that I would do something like this when I started my PhD studies and this is all thanks to a single course that was unrelated to my research. So I would highly recommend anyone hesitating to take part in more acitivities outside your studies.
Finally, since I have your attention, I would like to ask if there is anyone out there who is good at building websites and is interested to join our entrepreneurial project that is related to Life Science and social media? If so, don’t hesitate to drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a list of some events/clubs that you might find interested to join/attend, whether you are a student, scientist or “something else”.
PhD club @ KI – Join them or attend the events they organize for PhD students at KI
KI Career Service – Arranges career related events as well as this blog
CV workshop (in Swedish) April 28 by Biomedicine Network, BioN
Start-up day April 26 – Event for start-ups in Scandinavia
SSES – Arranges numerous courses/workshops/seminars related to entrepreneurship and innovation. Once in a while they seek part-timers to help them out.