First Retreat of Major Cancer Biology: Weil der Stadt - 20./21. June 2015

In June 2015 the DKFZ Cancer Biology students dedicated a week-end to their first retreat in Weil der Stadt. The event was jointly organized by the senior and junior students and it was a great success:

The CB retreat 2015: "How to make young scientists think about their career?"

1) Have a seat in the same boat

Canoeing is a good idea to start with no matter if it’s pouring with rain or burningly hot. Already while boarding the boat everyone senses the challenge and difficulties, which without constant support of your crew were hard to get relieved of. As a matter of course, boarding is only half of the canoe truth. Rivers like the Enz by themselves can become a steeplechase very soon: Getting stuck in shallow waters while observing your companions navigating through rapids backwards not a hundred meters away from you. But fear and necessity beget ingenuity. Later or sooner, any crew will figure out the art of rowing and by the orchestrated drawing of their paddles through the water. Eventually each team can either demonstrate their newly acquired abilities in speed and performance along the route or simply enjoy the beautiful landscape at the water’s edge.


2) Get out of your comfort zone

A rural location and the dedicated time of a whole weekend excluding the business of every day’s life were creating an inspiring atmosphere, to really get focused on the objectives of the retreat. In a remote settlement near Weil der Stadt at the gate to the Black Forest, the CB Master students’ retreat set off to paving the path for new ideas of networking and building up an occupational career.

3) Learn from the experience of successful scientists

To get a broad insight in future perspectives, scientists from both academia and industry were invited to talk about their individual career path. Intimate talks allowed thinking about one’s own future and to exchange thoughts, fears and open questions with each other:

When should I start to come to a decision about my future plans? - Do I have to worry about finding a job? - Is industry a better choice for me as compared to academia? - What alternatives to R&D are out there? - Where to find the key to happiness? - What about work-life-balance? - And how to manage a family besides all that? - What did others make achieving their personal goals? - And what was their motivation to run the extra mile?

Our conclusion: Take the chance, remain true to yourself, and don’t worry too much!

4) My name is bond, social bond

Never heard of me? Okay. But come on, after all worries about your future and many thoughts about what to do about it, it’s not the worst idea to have a barbecue along with some coke, beer, or wine, and to sit together for a just-for-fun pub quiz with your peers and idols. Nobody knows the answers to everything.


5) Start building up your future network – now

Why wander around in the distance, when good things lie nearby? So we came up with an inspiring scientific speed-dating event and made use of the great opportunity for the juniors to directly learn from the experiences of the seniors. Many new ideas on practicals, groups for the Master thesis, funding of internships abroad etc. arose. Some advice already turned out to be extremely helpful. Clearly, who else knows more than the senior who just passed what is the future of the juniors.

You doubt all of this had really worked?


have a look at the program in detail


... we planned it by ourselves and it was great fun! - So try it yourself and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you got interested.




Written by Caroline Bossmann and Benjamin Buchmuller, students of the Major Cancer Biology Class of 2014 

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