Anyone could potentially be a scientist. A common (big) mistake is to think that being a scientist means you need to be a genius, dress in a bow tie, and to only think about work, even during your free time. In the EuroPAH network, we are 16 early stage researchers (ESR) with different interests, hobbies, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations. All ESRs, thanks to Europe, have the chance to experience moving to another country to do what we like the best: Science. The secret of doing science is to have fun with your work and during your free time. We are normal people, like you, that like to go to parties, make new friends, practice sports, play music, and other many activities. As an ESR4 what inspired to do my job is the joy of discovering something new, learning about the mechanisms that govern the universe. I am interested in how molecules react forming other species and applying this in the astronomical environment. Moving to another country, it was a priceless experience, allowing me to know other cultures, new people, and to discover new places. My job allows me to travel a lot for conferences, workshops, and schools, learning about new techniques and the work of other scientists. Besides, when all the ESRs meet for a conference, a party and after party are always guaranteed 😉.
So, the question is: what do you need to be a scientist? The answer is: Be yourself! Be curious! And if you enjoy new discoveries and you really want to understand how nature works, then it is the right choice for you. Moreover, do you like to travel? Would you like to meet people from different backgrounds and experiences? Would you like to see other realities outside your comfort zone? Then you have all the right tools for being a scientist.