Internship or Post-Doctoral Fellowship?

Yesterday, I started contemplating what I will do after graduation, in the event that I am not working in research prior to graduation.

At one point, I thought about pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship. There are certainly multiple opportunities for this lasting from 3 months up to 5 years. A shorter fellowship would be ideal as I could apply for one anywhere in the country, find temporary housing, and then return home at the conclusion of the fellowship. However, upon further investigation, I fear that I wouldn't be qualified for a fellowship. Most, if not all, require a certain amount of prior research experience of which I have none. It's possible that I could impress the selection committee with the work of my dissertation, but I think they want to see more than that. With the work involved in preparing an application for a post-doctoral fellowship, it almost seems that I would be wasting my time.

On the other hand, internships don't necessarily require that the candidate have a wealth of experience in the field. Simply, they're looking for someone with academic preparation and an interest in the field in which he desires to intern. Of course, there has to be a catch: Every single internship I've looked at require that the applicant be a current student. I couldn't pursue an internship while I'm still a student. For one, once I start the comprehensive exam phase, if I stop for any reason, I'm out of the program. Another thing is that I couldn't justify leaving my current position for a short period of time and then returning and looking for a short-time job until graduation. To me, that just doesn't make sense.

So, I'm left with the question, do I pursue a post-doctoral fellowship when I feel I would be one of the last people an organization would accept? Or, do I pursue an internship when while I would qualify with my limited credentials, I might not be eligible?

The good news is that there is still time to make my decision. Life could present its own obstacles and windows to my future career. For now, I think I will contact organizations which offer internships in my area of interest. If I can find a contact, perhaps I could inquire whether he would accept a recent graduate of a doctorate program.
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