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Hello from the other side – Alumni Series: Tine Opitz

Hello from the other side – Alumni Series: Tine Opitz

We love hearing about the post-PhD careers of the PGRs of the School of Health in Social Science. So it’s time to celebrate the diversity of post-PhD careers and inspire our current PGRs. Join us as we move to the second part* of our blog series, Hello from the Other Side – Alumni Series, with an interview with Tine Opitz.

What programme did you complete and in what year?

PhD Clinical Psychology graduated in 2023.

What are you doing now? (Job, role, etc.) Where are you based?

I am currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow in Clinical Psychology at the SHSS (UoE). Even though I am based in Edinburgh, I am working for a project (EDIFY) which includes collaborations across the UK, so I have to occasionally travel to London.

What drew you to that role? Was this part of your initial plan?

Quite serendipitously, the role came up just before I submitted my PhD. It was supposed to be advertised a year before but things got delayed and that worked out really well for me. I knew I wanted to stay in research but I was open to both academic and industry-based jobs. In the end, my current job was a great opportunity to build on my existing skills and I am glad that I got a chance to work with a lot of inspiring people!

What specific knowledge or skills do you feel best prepared you for your post-PhD career?

It was definitely helpful that I taught myself a lot of new skills during the PhD. Research requires you to be flexible and curious, so I try to see every new project as an opportunity to develop my skillset. I would recommend practicing open science from the very beginning and to use opportunities for research collaborations whenever you can.

Being a PGR representative and tutor taught me a lot of organisational skills, so I think it is not only the PhD itself that is relevant for your career development. The post-PhD life can be isolating at times because even though you are staff, it might take time to get used to it (at least for me). It helps to stay in touch with other PGRs who are experiencing the same things, which is why I am glad the PhD wasn’t just about research but also socialising with like-minded people!

What have been the most unexpected challenges you’ve faced in your career since completing your PhD?

Like I mentioned before, probably the feeling of “being inbetween” the student and staff status. I loved our PhD community, so I had to get used to a new environment and a new identity. Fixed-term contracts are also common in the academic world, so that can be challenging, especially if there are other things happening in your life.

On the flip side, what are the most rewarding aspects of your career after PhD?

The sense of achievement after completing the PhD was amazing. I gained a lot of confidence in my skills and I love that I can now use a lot of them on a daily basis. Having a real salary is also very rewarding 🙂

What advice would you give to PhD students who are preparing for their post-PhD life?

Be open to unexpected opportunities! There are always new jobs coming up and we are qualified to do a lot of different things once we finish our PhDs. You never know who else is applying for a job, so it might as well be you who gets it!

Is there anything else you would like to share about your life after PhD?

Everyone’s individual circumstances are different, so try to figure out what’s best for you in the short- and long-term. There isn’t just one right way to progress!

*Make sure to check the rest of the interviews in the Hello from the Other Side – Alumni Series here.


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