Saturday, August 9, 2014

Female Scientists

Not a full discussion, but a quick line about female scientists, or as I'd like to think of them, scientists.

I'm not digging into disparity between professional women and men, as that has been studied and proven to the point that if you do not believe in them, you are being delusional. It is a scientist's "worth" that concerns me.

Being ignorant and slightly sexist, I don't think I realized there was something different about female scientists until more recently. I have notice that proportion-wise, men far outnumber women in STEM, and as stated before, their pays usually do too. What I did not realize, was how many competent women think of themselves as incompetent. Even in school, I've been told that my friends have felt inadequate in the field. I always felt school to be about learning, and about grading, which although is compared to others, does not necessarily pit one against each other in direct competition. I've had friends tell me that they feel like they are out-competed, even though they are in the upper percentile of students, and they do attribute a lot of it on their sex.

I like to discuss the progress of a friend in grad school with her. Objectively, she can list her achievements and enumerate how she's better than her cohort in papers about to be published, number of working projects, and so forth. Subjectively she still doesn't believe that she is doing well. There is such a big disconnect and I cannot understand the source (in that, typically, I delude myself into thinking I'm much better than the facts, not the other way around).

Even once they become established in their fields, some professors still have to fight to "prove themselves" as scientists. To me, this attitude is off-putting. I'd like to think at that point, research should be done to solve the research problem that you thought up, not to prove one's worth (although, of course, there's the issue of proving yourself as worthy of tenure). As I was interviewing for a potential supervisor, I was a little weary that that professor might also have the same attitude. Luckily, she was all about the Science, and although her approaches might not work, I appreciated it. So much so that if everything works out in the end, she'd be my supervisor in a month's time at McGill.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Post #100, or 78

There are a handful of draft posts (22 of them) that are up, causing the number of posts on this blog to balloon to 99.

I have not been able to write anything recently; part of it was being afraid to write what I was really feeling, while the other part was not having enough feeling to write.

I've recently completed my honours thesis and graduated. The thesis was not at all like how I imagined it, and it brought out both a bad version of me that I hated, as well as a surprisingly amount of apathy. I wasn't motivated to do any of the writing, and I couldn't even procrastinate productively. This past year has definitely been one of the least productive year for me.

Unfortunately, this year was one of the more important years of my life, and my lack of diligence is definitely coming back to bite me right now. It scares me a little - if I had a good year, I would still be trucking along on my path without much care. Right now though, panic is setting in, and I'm still having trouble to do anything about it. Ideally I can figure out what's going to happen with school or work, ideally within the next few weeks. That would at least give me an idea of where I'll be living. That also leads to how I deal with some of the troubles I have at home.

I think part of the scariness is if securing a purpose for next September is so key for the rest of my life, why am I so not willing to work towards it? I've definitely spent a lot more hours in bed without sleeping than ever before (in fact, I also think the amount of sleep I've got was lower than before). I've also gotten my body into some very bad states. Being dehydrated enough to cause sleeplessness and some hallucinations, being sleep deprived enough to be unable to separate those hallucinations from reality, and pretty much shutting my body down due to a champagne hangover. Also, in the unlikely event that I end up getting married, I'll need to remember that I'm only allowed 1 glass of champagne.

This past month I've had "off", mostly to just recover. I'm not quite ready to push myself again, but I think it's about time I start hitting the reset buttons so I'll at least slow down my descent, and in the future start reversing it.