In the forward view my career looks very jumpy, random and unorganised.
I studied medicine and neuroscience to fulfill my dream of doing meaningful science. But med school made me believe I want to save lifes. So I became a pediatric surgeon. After two years they kicked me out. It was not my way.
Being so stressed from night shifts I went back to the lab doing a Post Doc about cancer stem cells. Coming from leukemia research I believed to be interested in cancer research. After two years they kicked me out. It was not my way.
Now my interest in stem cells came through and I moved on to my second Post Doc doing research about iPSC. After 2 years they kicked me out. It was not my way.
Being all frustrated from science I finally wanted to do something good and I became a pediatrician. After one year and many night shifts I finally got the point. This was not my way.
I quit. That day the true story of my life began.
Lets look at it in the backward view. During my entire med school I have done research about blood cancer. After med school I still did not feel mature enough to work independently as a Post Doc. So I went into clinics. Surgery has taught me to take responsibilities, to take decisions with consequences. I saw fates of innocent people, I saw the limits of life, it was an inner growth. Surgery made me a more mature person. Once that goal was fulfilled I needed to move on.
Then I found a PostDoc at the same university like my husband. I worked about cancer stem cells in multiple myeloma. Scientifically I stayed in hematology but I added my new interest in stem cells. It was wonderful but cancer research was not my way. I needed to move on.
Life had to get real tough on me to make me move to another lab so I could finally work with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) which later became my field of expertise. But it was not my way to remain in academia, employment made me very unhappy. And I finally needed to find my purpose. The one reason why I studied science for the last 15 years. I needed to move on.
Life had to get super tough on me to get me out of that lab. To make me change my perspective. I thought about blood the entire day in the lab but I could not see the forest in between all the trees. Then I moved on to clinics and within the first month I found my big scientific dream. I want to make blood in the lab, in a huge bioreactor. Human blood for routine blood transfusions because we dont have enough donor blood. Because thousands of people die every day due to the one missing resource. Blood. The purpose of my clinical excursion was fulfilled. I needed to move on.
Again life had to trouble me to get me out of there. To make me jump. To fulfill my bigger purpose.
In August 2016 I finally took the decision that from now on I would go my own way. Not listening anymore to any boss or collegue or family, but to follow my heart. Being fully responsible for every step that I go, coming every day closer to my big vision. It was a shaky journey since then. First, I had no clue what to do.
Then I went into a deep personal development. I accepted my mistakes, I changed many of my inner principles, I understood that life can be so much more than I ever thought it could be. On that journey I met wonderful people. People who have turned their own life dreams into reality with passion and endless motivation. They have enormously inspired and guided me on my new way. I learned from magicians, real estate agents, recruiters, public speakers, salesmen and businessmen.
The most wonderful present I found: Science is my true passion. Its my purpose to do meaningful science and I want to enable young people to do meaningful science, too. I have not wasted the last 20 years of my life. It was simply my way, although never straight it has turned me into the person that I am today.
Without surgery I would have not known the importance of uncrossed blood, without cancer stem cells I would have not found my way to iPSC, without my kids I would be still in the hamster wheel of academia, without pediatrics I would have never found my big vision. Now I am able to connect the dots. I am thankful for every step. It was not always easy on the way but in the view back every puzzle piece was important.
Now I trust that all new dots will make sense one day in the future. Now I am ready to face any challenges to make my dream come true. Giving blood to people.
Now the true story of my life begins.