Seeker of Knowledge Posted May 14, 2019 Share Posted May 14, 2019 Cross-posting from the international students thread, as I think this topic may have higher visibility here. Hello everyone, I am a first-year PhD student in psychology at a US university. Before that, I had a background in English language and linguistics, and I am working in the field of psycholinguistics. Throughout my brief research career, my focus has always been on pursuing a job in academia, but my first year in a PhD program has been somewhat disheartening as I have both realized how hard it is do significant contributions to science and to build a competitive CV, as well as how brutal the current job market is and how even some of the best graduates of my program gave up on academia and started seeking industry jobs. (I'm at a high-ranking institution, if that matters. People usually think that graduating from a top program gives you a "label" that you can leverage in your academic job search, but this is a misperception. It doesn't matter nearly as much as your publication record and your collaborations. So these graduates who went into industry have failed to find academic positions despite the name of a prestigious university in their CVs.) That is one reason why I decided to be wary of committing myself fully to an academic job and to keep my options open with regard to industry jobs. But there are two problems associated with that, and I would very much appreciate some advice and guidance on these matters from this community. The first one is a general question: for which industry jobs do you think skills in psycholinguistics would be considered an important asset? And what other skills are valuable? (I know for a fact that coding is important, and many people in my field consider looking for data science jobs as a back-up plan. I am already learning to code with R in my program, as part of our statistics courses, and I am also planning to start teaching myself Python this summer.) But what are some additional skills that I should try to acquire to make myself employable in industry? I could be interested in jobs in data science and in science journalism & media. (And perhaps other fields that could potentially trigger my interest. I am open to suggestions here. The most important thing is that I really enjoy jobs that are intellectually demanding and involve "research" of some kind. That's why data science and science journalism sound like attractive back-up plans to me, but I would be open to considering other career options that allow me to work on a "research" project and satisfy my curiosity.) The second question is tricky: This is the question that is more specifically related to my status as an F1 student. Our international office firmly told us that as F1 students, we are strictly prohibited from seeking off-campus employment. It is against the rules and could result in deportation - so no joking there. This prohibition also extends to even short-term employments that result in a one-time payment. For example, a couple of weeks ago, my advisor circulated an email she received from a museum. The museum was planning to open a new exhibit and the subject of the exhibit was relevant to my research interests (they were literally asking for a student interested in the psychology of language to consult them on the planning of the exhibit, in return for monetary compensation). The ad captured my interest, and I thought it could be one first step for me to dip my toes in the non-academic ocean. But I sent an email to an advisor from the international office to inquire whether I would be allowed to work a short-term consultation job like this and received the frustrating response that as an international student, I can never work outside the campus. I need special permission from the Department of Homeland Security, and this permission is given only when the off-campus job is directly related to our dissertation topic. As a first-year student, I obviously don't have a dissertation topic yet. Besides, this warning also means that I will probably never be able to work in data science or in media, since neither of these things will (probably) be directly relevant to my future PhD thesis anyway. I feel that this places a huge burden on international PhD students like myself. Since the academic job market is a mess, we should be allowed to diversify our CV by working in related industry jobs, but our immigration status makes this practically impossible. Is there a way to get around this? Should I try to pursue unpaid internships? Are there any international PhD students here who found industry jobs in the US (especially those with a psychology degree)? What would your advice be for a newbie? Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time ❤️ psy_gal 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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