STEM fields don’t need to be ultra competitive monocultures that work people to the bone and systematically drive out anyone who is seen as not being able to hack it.
Just because the system is set up in a way that fosters a super high stress lifestyle doesn’t mean that it needs to be that way. There’s nothing inherently competitive about science (except evolution).
Grad school, and STEM in general, should be intellectually difficult but not nearly as emotionally difficult as it is, and yet way too many people just accept it because that’s they way it’s always been.
I’m not saying it should be easy, but we shouldn’t have to sacrifice out mental and emotional well beings, anything resembling a personal life, or just a somewhat normal work/life balance at the altar of Science.
The pressure cooker environment of grad school and science in general is both unnecessary and bad for science. It self selects for a certain type of scientist and drives out anyone who varies from the norm.
But the people in charge aren’t incentivized to change it because they’re products of the system. They are the very type of people who the system was built to serve. When people fail they shrug and say it was unfortunate but not everyone was cut out for this life.
That is bullshit. You do not have to be broken down and built back up to be a good scientist. Science is not war. We are not soldiers. We are curious, creative people who want to understand the universe.
We need to stop trying to patch the leaky pipeline and rather build a new pipeline. One that isn’t coated with acid and pressurized beyond the point of failure.