phds are not for normal people

Things I learned during my PhD

1. The impostor syndrome is real (google it!) and can be quite crippling if you allow it to be. My first year in graduate school was rough. I was a bio major that took a handful of psych courses (and surprisingly, no neurobiology courses). This means that when I started the neuroscience intro course at NYU I was fascinated but clueless, which was evident in my first neuro grade. All of this resulted in me feeling like I wasn’t “good enough” to be studying neuroscience at NYU and that somehow they/I had made a mistake. Luckily, many of my friends were quick to point out that I was being ridiculous and laughed it off. That, coupled with the Dean’s support, made me snap out of my doubt and insecurity and take on a more proactive approach towards my education. This included tutoring, but hey, it worked! 1 year later I was cracking jokes with the Dean about my first year freak-outs LOL. 

2. You do not need to know everything. As a graduate student, whose job is to be trained as a scientist, you are expected to do not only a lot of reading, but also a lot of learning. During my first two years, I took all sorts of neuroscience courses and remember wondering how I was going to remember it all. Newsflash: you don’t. Your learning experience is not confined to those two years of formal coursework- it stretches throughout your entire PhD and continues even beyond that. In my experience, I found that many of the concepts that I had trouble understanding re-appeared throughout my PhD. Sometimes through talks, other times through journal clubs, and other times by doing literature searches. A beautiful thing about science and learning is that all the knowledge builds on top of each other, and even though it may not seem like it to you, you are retaining this information. Also, important information will likely be repeated throughout your PhD, thereby facilitating your retention of the material. Just remember, you are being trained on how to think, and you will learn many things along the way. 

3. Be thankful of constructive criticism and use it as an opportunity to grow. This one was hard. Receiving feedback (especially criticism) is difficult in general, but I find that it’s even harder when you’re in academia. I mean, you become invested in a project and/or research topic, and sometimes you’re wrong or don’t know what to do with a certain piece of data. Or you need an extra control. Or somebody doesn’t understand the clinical relevance of your project. Or like me, you have a thesis project that integrates multiple disciplines and is hard to think about because the findings are counterintuitive. Bottom line is: at some point you will receive criticism that either A) you haven’t thought about B) you don’t agree with or C) you don’t understand. One of the many things that my PhD mentor taught me is to be grateful when somebody outside the lab (or your field) makes a constructive comment about your work. As she put it, this is indicative that they are thinking critically about your project, which they do NOT have to do. Lesson learned: when someone gives you constructive criticism, listen, and kindly thank them for their feedback because they are helping you think about your work in a different way. 

4. Build and maintain a network. Talk to people! This includes graduate students, postdocs, professors, collaborators, bloggers and many other people you meet at conferences, etc… I know, small talk is sometimes awkward and uncomfortable, but be thankful that you all have a common denominator: an interest and passion for science! Use that to your advantage. Networking is essential for a number of reasons. First, it’s a great way to meet other academics that you have things in common with and may even result in collaboration. Second, you can use their experiences and advice to help your own academic training and development. Third, if you maintain that network, you get to see what kinds of things they go on to do. For me, this is incredibly inspiring and helps to keep me motivated despite whatever I may hear about the pains and perils of science. 

5. Patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait. In science, things usually take longer that you think they will. While this may not be a surprise to fellow PhDs and other scientists, a lot of incoming graduate students don’t realize this and end up feeling disappointed when they don’t get that grant they applied for on the first round, their data is not ready for publication and/or their paper gets rejected multiple times (thus lengthening the time it takes to publish). Therefore, think of your PhD as a marathon, not a sprint. 

6. Write your papers as your experiments go along. Once you have a hypothesis and a preliminary approach, start drafting the paper. I know, it sounds crazy given that you don’t have any data yet, but it will help you have a clear rationale and organize the methods. For example, start off with a preliminary title and abstract, make a bullet list of points you want to cover in the introduction, insert the methods section and make a list of preliminary results (and how you would interpret them). This will help you start thinking about what your story could be and what it would look like. Also start building an EndNote library containing the references you know you already need or think might need. 

7. Make it a habit to read regularly. You’d be surprised at how easy (and fun) it can be. Follow neuroscience blogs, twitter accounts, attend a journal club, create a Scizzle, use Google scholar, friend people on ResearchGate, etc… Do whatever works, but try to read new papers every week. You can even have journals that you check every week/every month/etc… I, for example, look at J Neuro and NPP every week, Biological Psychiatry/Nature Neuroscience when there’s a new issue and such. 

8. Know your talk well. Once you have your committee’s approval to write/defend, start creating your talk. Normally, this will be a merger of previous committee meeting presentations or any other presentations you have given. Your goal is to tell your PhD story through your data in a clear and concise way. This means that it is up to you to fill in the knowledge gaps, ensure a smooth and logical transition from slide to slide, and connect the dots regarding the meaning of your work for the audience. Needless to say, this is much easier when you know exactly where each slide is and what slide is coming next. As one of my committee members said, this takes the stress out of being “surprised” by your own data and allows you to be more personable, as your personality is more likely to come through. 

9. Find a committee that is critical, yet supportive. Keep in mind that your thesis committee holds your fate in their hands. Thus, don’t make this decision lightly! Ideally, you want these people to be “fans”, meaning that they think you are bright, capable and are actually interested in helping you develop as a scientist. Try to schedule individual meetings with potential members BEFORE asking them to be a part of your committee. Tell them about your ideas and potential projects, see how they respond. Are they genuinely interested? Do they have good questions? Do your interests overlap with their research line? Furthermore, ask around! It is likely that someone else in your program (from upper years) has them in their committee. Find this person and ask what they’re like. 

10. Strive to become not only a better scientist, but also a better person :) As a former PhD student, I know that it feels like everything revolves around your PI, your project, all the work you have to do, etc… Although I personally believe that in order to do this job you need to lose yourself to it (to a certain extent), this doesn’t mean that you have to let yourself go and be consumed by it. The world is bigger than just academia, and you also need to grow as a person (and not just as a scientist). Find time to cultivate other interests, make new friends, rediscover yourself as you go along the PhD track. Your mental health will thank you for it. 

Disclaimer: All PhDs are not created equal. The points made above reflect my own personal PhD experience. I’ve always said that two people can even be in the same lab and same year and still have radically different experiences. Regardless, I hope everyone can find something that is useful to them :)

Dating Stephen Strange Would Include
  • Setting that arrogance straight
    • Sure, he’s learned his lessons about how cockiness gets you nowhere you truly want to be, but let’s face it: Confidence is something Stephen’s known practically all his life. It’s all too easy for him to lapse back into it. Not as dramatically as before, though.
    • Mainly because the moment he does, you’re right there to poke a pin in that swollen head of his and drag him back down to Earth with you
  • Practically pleading for him to teach you magic
    • To be honest, Stephen is hesitant to teach you for a multitude of reasons that range from the fact that he is still technically a novice and therefore probably not the best option, to the fact that he’s a little worried about how you’ll take to the concept.
    • The training regimen can be demanding and for as many taunts he directs at you, he never wants you to feel discouraged or incompetent if he can help it.

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storiesfromtheden  asked:

PROMPTS! YAY PROMPTS! Nurseydex bad mental health day lovin'? Or Nursey explains poems to Dex, Dex doesn't get shit but is all heart eyes about it? Or domestic nurseydex? Anything nurseydex please!

I know I told you I was going to do their coffee shop meet cute from the faculty AU, but that was turning into a huge thing and taking forever, and then last night the idea fairy visited and gave me some stressed out grad school Nurseydex instead.


Nursey looked at the stacks of books that had taken over their coffee table, flags sticking out of them in every direction, and wanted nothing more than to fling them at the wall. Just flip the whole table. Send papers flying everywhere. He could see it in his mind so clearly. It was so close to being satisfying that it made him itch. He grabbed a throw pillow off the end of the couch, pressed it over his face, and screamed.

Dex looked up from his place at the dining table (the only flat surface left in the apartment for him to work at) and raised his eyebrows. “Feeling a bit dramatic today?”

“I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m done. Can I be done? I don’t even remember what the point of getting a PhD is anymore. The pressure to come up with something ‘new’ and ‘innovative’ in a field where everything has been said a thousand times before just makes my mind go blank now, and I think I can vaguely remember a time when I found this subject interesting, but that was so long ago it just feels like a dream, and now I’m so far down the theory rabbit hole I’m not sure I can talk to normal people anymore and I sound such like a pretentious asshole every time I have to talk to my advisor that I want to punch myself in the face.” He ran out of breath and slumped on the couch, staring vaguely at the ceiling and longing vaguely for the days when he thought being “chill” was his ultimate ambition.

Dex blinked at him for a few seconds and then shrugged. “So don’t.”

“What?”

“Don’t finish. You don’t actually have to. Nothing says you are required to finish your dissertation and get a PhD. You already have everything needed for a master’s in passing. There is literally nothing stopping you from withdrawing from your program, taking the MA, and doing that teaching certificate I know you have all the information for stuffed in the back of the desk in the office.”

Nursey just stared at him.

Dex moved his laptop to the side and folded his arms in front of him. “I’m serious. Unless you really want to be a college professor, there’s basically zero reason for you to get a PhD. If your dissertation is driving you to the point of mental breakdown and you genuinely do not care about the subject anymore, then stop. I won’t judge. You’re not even in debt for this degree because they’ve had you TAing the whole time. There are no real consequences here. There is life beyond academia. You can be ABD for the rest of your life and I will still love you and you will still be employable and the world will still turn.”

Nursey realized that his vision had gone blurry and his hands were shaking, but at the same time, he felt like he could breathe again. “Oh,” he said.

“Yeah, oh. It’s gonna be okay, you know? I promise.”

Nursey blew out a huge breath. “Thank you.”

“Of course.” And then Dex smiled at him and pulled his laptop back over, leaving Nursey to sort out his thoughts.

Nursey wasn’t sure if he’d actually take Dex up on the offer to love him through the process of withdrawing from his program, (during which he sincerely doubted he’d be much of a delight,) but maybe just knowing it was a sincere option would be enough to get him through the last fifty pages of his diss. Just knowing he had options made him feel a thousand times lighter.

“There’s a strange culture in medicine. People are less friendly to each other than I imagined. I got an MD and a PhD in Neuroscience. I’m finishing my residency right now. I guess I thought that everyone would be compassionate, and would help each other, and would be nice to each other. And don’t get me wrong—I work with a lot of compassionate people. But the stress just erodes people. There’s a lot of tension and anger. We’re taught that 80 hours per week is normal and shouldn’t be questioned. But at the same time, a huge amount of work that medical interns do is administrative. It could be outsourced without affecting the quality of education or care. And the culture does real harm. I’ve had two friends commit suicide. One of them was studying anesthesiology at Yale and overdosed in a parking lot. The other jumped off the dorm building at NYU. There’s got to be a better way. I don’t know, maybe I’m just saying this because I’m stressed. I’m heading to the ER now. I’m almost at the end of my residency. I can see the end of the tunnel. But the tunnel is very damaging.”

Rant as Promised

Ok, so in super sons and other older things, Damian is homeschooled by Alfred, and (not to say anything about Alfred’s teaching skills) this is horrible. 

Damian is obviously too smart for normal people school, public or private. At the age of ten he had the illegal equivalent of multiple PhDs in a variety of subjects. But Bruce needs a way to occupy his time and figures schooling is the best way.

This is terrible. He’s not challenging him at all, so Damian is bored and acts out. Tim does the same sort of thing (from what I’ve seen at least) but isn’t as much of a loner or have as much of an attitude as Damian, so when Damian acts out it’s to prove he can be by himself and that he’s so much more intelligent than his father seems to think whereas Tim just does things to occupy his busy mind. He went and taught Jon’s class for crying out loud! And instead of understanding this and adjusting to it, Bruce gets mad.

To be fair, we don’t know what Damian’s being taught, but it’s safe to assume that it’s below his level and not stimulating enough. Bruce should either bump up the difficulty (if he even can) or find another way to occupy Damian’s time (some parents hang out with their children but that’s just a thought)

Ok, rant over.

Flug’s Age

Before I say ANYTHING you are allowed to head canon Dr. Flug however you want, this is just me telling sharing my idea of the possible age range of Flug.

As his names suggest, Flug is a doctor, meaning he has a PhD somewhere in his history. (As what it is on, is up to your personal head canon.) After getting your bachelors (4 years), it takes about another 8 years to get your PhD. If Flug was a gifted child, the youngest Flug could be is around 20-24.

I understand that people have graduated in the past at a younger age with their doctorates, but context matters. There was less information/regulations in 1903 then there is in 2017.

Now normally, people graduate with a doctorates at  the age of 33. However, if he doubled down on his classes I could see him graduating around 28-32.

Then you add a few years on him because he’s been working for a bit, ya know?

I personally see Flug in his late twenties, maybe even his early thirties, but I can understand and accept that he could be younger then that. Again, you are allowed to head canon Dr. Flug however you like. I just thought I should put this out there for people who didn’t know how long it takes to get a doctorate.

Feel free to add onto this post if you want! I’d love to read your head canons! :)

valduin111  asked:

Hello! Do you have any headcannons on what the mercs would be doing/what they would work as if they weren't working for Mann. Co?

(We already got a little glimpse of what some of them were doing when Gray Mann took over the company, but let me try to think of something.)

Scout: I can honestly see him as a professional sportsman, maybe baseball or football/soccer. He’d probably be a top-notch player, but he’d always get in trouble for violent and inappropriate behaviour. At one point they would all get tired of him and kick him out. And then he’d probably just become the curator of a Tom Jones museum.

Soldier: Maybe he could work at a military training camp or a school as a history teacher where he’d always yell at people and speak about his various war stories that nobody wants to hear. Let’s not forget he’ll probably also become a father in the near future. I can somehow imagine him as a stay-at-home dad with a pink apron making birthday cakes, shaped like the Statue of Liberty.

Pyro: ??? I mean, somehow he appeared to have become the CEO of a giant company. We don‘t know how he ended up in that position. Since it was an engineering company, maybe Engie had something to do with it? But we also saw Pyro wasn’t happy in that job. He needs to be able to play with fire, that’s for sure.

Demo: We saw how he dealt with being fired. Blowing up things is his life. He would have to find some other employer that lets him do that. He also needs a team of friends on this job to enjoy it.

Heavy: He and his family still seem to be targeted by the Russian government. Maybe if they didn’t need to hide anymore and could move freely again, he would pursue a career in literature, maybe go back to university? We also know him to be a family person, so maybe he’d start his own family or at least be a great uncle for his future nieces/nephews (and make sure they don’t turn out like Soldier).

Engineer: His family was seen to own a tool and munitions store and I also headcanon them to have a big farm. So he’d probably just work there and help out his family. Or go back to uni and earn another 5 PhDs or so. I can also see him as a professor who teaches engineering. He’d always need practical work too, though.

Medic: Since he lost his medical license he can’t work as a normal doctor anymore. He probably wouldn’t want to anyway. He’d just look for another mercenary team or any job that provides him with enough resources and unsuspecting victims to do his experiments.

Sniper: He’s a (“)professional(”) assassin. And we know, as long as there are two people left on the planet, someone is gonna want someone dead. So he’d never run out of job opportunities.

Spy: Similar to Sniper. It’s just a job. He would probably go undercover for a while, get a new identity and then work for another employer (or government) as an assassin/spy/secret agent.

anonymous asked:

Hey, could you post/give some tips/links/etc. about studying shakespeare? How, where and what did you do with such graduation? Oh and perhaps tips for persons like me, which come from another country? A lot of questions :) Thank you for your help. Have a nice day.

Hello there! Thank you for your questions. Let’s see if I can help. 

How to study Shakespeare depends on what kind of person you are. It’s different for everybody so it’s difficult to provide an exact method. I don’t think my case is very interesting or useful: I started reading the plays as a child and had an interest in history and older literature all my life, but it wasn’t until I got to university that I started studying it very seriously. It’s difficult for me to give tips because it all came very naturally to me. In the end, I went the academic route at a University in England where I did a BA in English Literature and Philosophy (heavily focused on early modern and medieval literature), and went on to get an MA and PhD in Shakespeare. Since then I’ve been studying pretty constantly while teaching at a university. But this is total overkill for most people. 

My tip for students for whom English is a second language is first, to watch the plays. Watch different productions if you can. Then get a decent edition of Shakespeare and read the scenes you found most interesting. You don’t need to read and understand the whole play to start with, just concentrate on the bits you want to have a closer understanding of. A good bilingual edition of the plays might also help (these ones normally have the text in your own language on one side, and in English on the other side). Then try reading it out loud yourself, because saying it out loud often makes a lot more sense than trying to read it like a book. I run a reading group at my university and many international students have said it helps to read the plays out loud with others if that’s an option for you. This is going to be like learning a new language so it will take practice, patience and passion.

Here are a collection of potentially helpful Shakespeare tips I’ve blogged or reblogged over the years:

I hope that helps!

Unfortunately, scientists have traditionally endured a bad reputation, rooted in ancient fears about meddling in the territory of the gods. This classic uneasiness has been reinforced in modern times by conspicuous PR disasters such as the Manhattan Project, and by the nagging suspicion that clever technology attempting to enhance nature to improve our lives might have a sting in the tail. Society’s ambivalence about science is reflected over the past century in fiction, in which the trope of well-meaning boffin losing control of his experiment is played out again and again in Hollywood and in countless speculative novels.


While science communicators and friendly jobbing scientists engaging with the public probably helps improve the overall reputation of scientists to some extent, there is always the worry that they are preaching to the converted – the sort who already like science, know roughly how it works and are not too susceptible to irrational beliefs and conspicuous lying. The real conundrum is how to reach the sort of person who wouldn’t be caught dead in a science museum or darken the door of a pub featuring researchers earnestly describing their PhD instead of widescreen sport.



Science is the invisible profession. Most people have no idea what scientists do, and may harbour a vague feeling of suspicion or uneasiness about the whole endeavour. Never seeing scientists participate in normal life only enhances the sense that they are the ‘other’, doing things that are ‘secret’ and by extrapolation, potentially dangerous.

My (Illustrated) Misophonia Story

I was in the fifth grade when I started to develop misophonia, and it quite quickly became the most difficult thing I’d ever experienced. I remember by first trigger very well. There was a boy who sat next to me in class named Chris and I despised him, he was always saying perverted things and swearing openly and he was just downright annoying. He was eating a bagel with strawberry cream cheese and he was smacking it really loudly, and it just bothered me in a way that it hadn’t bothered me before. I remember another occasion when he was eating marshmallow popcorn, and that bothered me even more.

After that, lots of other noises started disturbing me at a much greater frequency. I remember clearly having to move my cereal into the dining room when everyone was eating at the kitchen table and bringing the Sunday comics with me while I could hear my parents laughing at the fact I had to relocate myself. There was another time at my eleventh birthday party when my friends and I were eating chips and watching a movie, and I asked an overweight friend to stop eating so loudly (which my mother recalled as very embarrassing, because I probably really hurt the girl’s feelings, but didn’t even think about it).

I once had to get up in class and ask a boy to stop blowing air through the cap of a ballpoint pen because the noise was bothering me, which I recall as humiliating, since I was the weird kid in class.

I didn’t find misophonia to be that crippling throughout middle school, except for when popcorn was handed out to everybody, and when people had gum, and when people had chips around me. And then there a couple times when I had to take a test at school and people’s sniffling and coughing would bother me.

High school was when misophonia really became a problem, because kids were allowed to chew gum and eat during class; whereas during middle school, they weren’t. It became exceedingly difficult for me to sit through classes where people were chewing and popping gum, and eating openly.

I perfected the art of glaring.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me, and it was really hard because I didn’t know why people’s noises bothered me so much and why I was so different. There was a girl in my freshman English class who always popped her gum, and I’ve never forgotten her name because she made me so angry. 

One night at dinner when my mom had baked some french fries and my family was crunching on them, I had to ask to be excused because I couldn’t stand the noise. As I went up to my room, I heard my dad ask why I was leaving the table, and my mom answered frustratedly, “She can’t stand the sounds.”

I Googled “I can’t stand the sound of people eating”, and oh my gosh, what I had was a thing. Like, a legitimate thing. What came up was a page on “selective sound sensitivity syndrome” or “4S”, of which the symptoms 100% matched what I experienced on a daily basis. 

I told my parents, who were skeptical at first, but after they read what I had read, they gradually accepted the information set before them because it was the only thing that explained my strange behaviors. 

Before I even had an official diagnosis, I emailed my teachers and asked them if it would be okay for me to listen to music in class. 

A few of them said it was fine, and the others were understanding in different ways. All allowed me to take tests in the hallways, and it was great. But even with these accommodations, school was still a nightmare to endure. As the year progressed, my depression grew, and I eventually became suicidal.

I was able to finish the year, and I told my mom I didn’t think I’d make it all the way through public high school without me killing myself. She agreed to send me to a homeschool high school that met two days a week and didn’t allow kids to chew gum or eat food in class. 

This worked well until I became more sensitive to softer noises. Then we found an audiologist during my sophomore year named Dr. Gardner at the Hearing Rehab Center who gave me some hearing aids that were supposed to calm my brain down by making wind chime noises. 

When those stopped working after a year, he sent me away, saying there was nothing else he could do for me. It was very discouraging. 

I was severely depressed again for a long period of time during my junior year of high school, and life was really hard with misophonia. But my mother wouldn’t give up. With her help, I was able to get on anti-anxiety medication that also worked for about a year, and then stopped working. 

My senior year of high school, we found a new audiologist named Dr. Patty Kalmbach, who is located in Denver with Colorado Tinnitus and Hearing. With her help, I was given a pair of hearing aids that covered up about half the noises with white noise. To this day, they work well, and I can eat dinner with my family and sometimes go to public events.

Sadly, also that year, I had an abusive boyfriend who helped me into a severely depressed state that left me suicidal in mental hospital at the end, and even though it had nothing to do with my misophonia, it significantly altered my mental state.

After my release from the hospital, I started college at CU Denver, where I found it difficult to concentrate in classes because of misophonia. I got a note from Dr. Patty, and with it, was able to use section 504 from the Colorado Department of Education to attain special accommodations. The disabilities office is a magical place, they even know me by name. 

My school allowed me to take tests in a room by myself, have a note-taker in class, leave or skip class without being marked as absent, and have preferential seating in the back row. 

Upon returning to school my sophomore year, my visual triggers had started getting worse. Just seeing someone with gum in front of me was enough to make me crazy. 

I was also becoming all the more sensitive to noises that did not bother me before, and noises that I could barely hear became my biggest problems. Because of this, my hearing aids weren’t able to cover the noises that I’d needed them to before. It was becoming so difficult the first few weeks that I even started thinking of dropping out. 

But then someone magical in the disabilities office thought of this idea of using an FM system. It’s basically comprised of a microphone that the teacher wears, and a reciever that I plug earbuds into.

Since the first day, they dramatically changed the way I can now do school. I don’t have to sit in the back row anymore, so by sitting in the front row, I can eliminate my potential visual triggers by about 95%. I can literally sit in class like a normal person and listen to the teacher like normal people do. How long had it been since I’d been able to do that? I’m no longer thinking of dropping out, but I have optimistic goals to become a child and misophonia therapist. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a PhD. 

I’m only a junior, so we’ll see how that pans out. 

I wanted to share my story because I think our personal stories of how we came to be who we are in our disability are important. I certainly feel like a large part of my identity is tied into being disabled, and I’m learning to be okay with that. It’s who I am. I’m Steph, and I have misophonia, but I’m going to conquer the world anyway. I have no doubt that you can too!

Stay brave out there and never give up hope. 

Clara Oswald hated John Smith. That much was clear to anyone. She was popular, on all of the sports teams, and was incredibly strong for her small size. Her strength wasn’t always used for good, though.

On her way through the corridor, she normally shoved at least two people out of the way, and if one of them happened to be John Smith, he’d probably get a harder shove. She never spoke her reasoning for hating him, but nobody asked her. They just went along with it.

“Hey loser, go and get a life!” Clara kicked the chair away just as her target was about to sit down, and grinned as her classmates laughed. There was no happiness in her smirk, but she wore it frequently anyway.

@doctor-basil-disco-phd

Apollo and Athena

Author: nerdwriteria

Rating: T  [This specific chapter is fine at K. :)]

Drabble Request: This one and another request I saw where there’s a rivalry between reader/Reid [This one maybe?]

Notes: You are a genius who’s new to the BAU. Your first case proves to be challanges, even for you. It doesn’t help that everyone is treating it like a competition of who can solve it first, you or Reid. Garcia constantly “shipping” the two of you doesn’t exactly help either.

TW: None for now

Word Count: 1672

Multishot: This is part 1 of a full fanfic, the rest will be posted to my blog so I don’t spam the lovely folks here at ICM

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The need to bring out your inner Beyonce in the academic job market

At a dinner party, I was talking to my friend C about - what else? - the fraught nature of the academic job market. I love C. She is brilliant, has a caustic sense of humour that allows her to issue biting observations, and is kind and empathetic. We only occasionally ran into each other the further we sunk into our PhDs and so lost touch but then were ecstatic when we saw each other clad in our scarlet and black robes during PhD graduation last year.  After years of not seeing each other because we were in different fields and were, quite frankly, too ensconced in our research to have much of a life, it was thrilling to see each other cross the finish line. 

Anyway, during this dinner party, C issued what I thought was an especially astute observation. “Academia used to be the refuge of the nerds,” she lamented. “I became an academic because there were moments in my life when I liked books more than people.” 

We then started talking about how there are lots of older professors whose social skills seemed to indicate that they preferred research over people.

“And it used to be that liking research, and being a good enough nerd, was sufficient to get you a job,” C continued. You bent your head down, you did your research well, you published, you got the job - that was the trajectory. Or at least that’s the way it was. My PhD supervisor, who I admire greatly, mentioned that everyone who he did his PhD with in the 1970s could reasonably expect to land a job afterwards.

Now, as most of us know, this isn’t the case. In fact, in order to get a job, you could no longer just be a nerd (i.e., just be an academic). You have to be an academic Beyonce.

And what, pray tell, is an academic Beyonce? 

Well, this means that you can’t just have good work, you have to sell your work as being the most brilliant, the most innovative, the most cutting-edge, the most inspiring. You have to walk into that room before your job talk ready to sparkle and to dazzle everyone with your magnetism, your electric energy, and, yes, obviously your knowledge. You have to show that you aren’t merely a competent teacher but that scores of students are so inspired by your lectures that they, too, are ready to pledge undying allegiance to your field. You have to be able to show that your research isn’t only applicable to your specific area but has direct resonance in a million other cognate and not-so-cognate areas. Heck, your research - even if it is on, say, a Marxist Feminist analysis of Sherlock Holmes (the assorted novels and the books) - can also be applied to contemporary urban policy. 

In short, a good test of whether a job candidate is hireable, according to one former professor, is whether a buzz is created around him/her in the wake of his/her visit. Are people excited about their work? Do people like them? 

And so what happens to the introverts? The introverts have to buckle up and sell themselves as academic Beyonces lest they fade into the woodwork. 

Think I’m lying? A good friend of mine who is normally humble and quiet and self-deprecating had to force herself to be anything but when she was getting interviewed. And lo and behold, she got the job. 

C and I concluded our conversation by agreeing that the pressure to be academic Beyonces is simply too much.

anonymous asked:

shit the signs would probably say?

*based off of things people with these sun signs or luminaries have said to me*

Warning: mildly ironic but mostly serious post ahead.

Aries: Hurry up!

Taurus: Whoa there, chill out.

Gemini: Oh my gosh, this one time I was talking to my best friend ever, right? She’s doing post-doctorate - that’s after the PhD - studies in, like, early medieval Latin literature and…

Cancer: Um, I’m okay. Yeah. It was a pretty normal week.

Leo: …Who does he think he is anyway?

Virgo: She’s nice, but not all the time. She seems to get pretty uncomfortable talking about herself for too long and deliberately flips the conversation to the other person to avoid it. But I don’t know her that well.

Libra: I kinda just want to eat pizza and listen to trashy 90′s pop ballads.

Scorpio: I prefer the sound of silence to music. Generally.

Sagittarius: It really sucks, but I’m trying to understand that it won’t always be this way. Trying to understand how to grow from it.

Capricorn: I don’t really know what I want to do and that’s a scary thing. 

Aquarius: That’s not how you pronounce it. But in the endangered Native American Indian language Ópata, which is also known as Heve or Dohema…

Pisces: They always think I won’t get angry. And then I do. And it’s the last thing they remember.

07.10.15 || I don’t think people understand me when I say that I am going to do another undergrad, and then probably a masters or a phd. People genuinely don’t understand how much I love studying and how much learning about everything makes me feel like a normal person.
I am also inspecting a house today to move into ( by myself 😳 ) so I hope I get it or I’ll probably cry because I just want to get out of this house and start fresh! New house, new degree, new mindset! Let’s do this

*Me to a professor of film at my college once* “You know, half the time, I think the problem most academics have is that they refuse to believe they’re talking or relating to anyone *except* other highly educated people.  Hence all the pretension, fancy words (my, how you love long words from the thesaurus!)  and long-winded arguments.“

A poor dude living in a trailer park or a struggling minority single mother with no qualifications can get the point of Kyle McLachlan staring longingly at Isabella Rossellini in that cupboard as much as any PHD grad can.

You just gotta be interesed in reaching out  and talking to them like normal people 

anonymous asked:

Advice for incoming PhD students?

Yes, don’t do it!

I’m totally kidding, but my first piece of advice is don’t feel bad if you feel like screaming that to other people that talk to you about grad school after you’ve been at it for a few years. There will be some days you hate your life and completely regret your decision. From what I’ve experienced that’s a completely normal reaction.

Now on to some actual advice

1) Make sure you’re comfortable with your PI/mentor. Your first year is really for figuring things out and getting the lay of the land. If you don’t think its a good fit remember you can change paths. It gets harder the further on you get, but remember you need to be happy with your decision because it’s going to be your life for the next few years, and will be with you for the rest of your life. So don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself as scary as it might seem.

2) Find out what the student resources are for grad students. Whether that be free student lunches or a hidden Keurig machine, know whats available for you.

3) Make friends that are also in grad school. Other people who are your friends outside the program can be loving and supporting, but trust me when I say there is nothing like commiserating with other grad students. That’s half the reason I started this blog to begin with was to make sure I wasn’t crazy and connect with other grad students. They will be your lifeline.

4) Make time for yourself. Take this advice from someone who doesn’t take her own advice, the work/life balance is so important. You will burn out and be miserable if you don’t remember to take care of yourself. I’ll usually try and give myself 1 hour of my favorite show a day around lunch time to give myself a mental break and recharge. Or read a chapter of a for-fun book before bed. Have a night out or in every once and awhile. Treat yo self.

5) Don’t give up. Things will be hard. Things won’t work the first time. You’ll want to scream at your mentor. You’ll probably cry. It’s ok. Take a shower, eat some chocolate, give yourself a night off, and brush yourself off the next morning and keep on going.

I hope these helps! And remember, you can always ask myself, or anyone else for tips, tricks, and advice along the way. No one gets through grad school alone!