This post was supposed to be a thank you to the two random strangers that helped me out when crazy woman drove me off the road and then took off. One stranger chased her down to get her insurance information and the other changed my tire in the pouring rain. To my dear friend JV and sister who pinched in to pickup monkey, hugely grateful. If only I could get into the childcare on campus....
Okay so if I'm not writing an eloquent thank you to these guys what am I writing about? Today a friend asked me why am I doing my PhD? She was genuinely curious because as I have mentioned many times, I had a horrible experience during my masters program. I thought her question was interesting because of the whole Athena report thing and because my friend and I just finished discussing how much cash I would be making if I had chosen to go into sales (after I finished my MSc, I had been offered numerous positions as an imaging specialist). So why did I choose this path? My initial answer was why not? Some may say that you shouldn't do science as a default that you must enjoy what you do because its a hard road, that you must have a passion for it blah blah. Obviously I enjoy it and have a passion for it, otherwise I wouldn't have chosen to do a Masters AFTER slugging out it in the trenches of an undergrad. Obviously there was something keeping me at the work, since I had an ass for a thesis advisor and the most toxic lab environment ever! So again the question is not why to pursue a PhD but why not? The reasons are: its hard work, its difficult to have kids and do lab work, its difficult to have a life and do lab work, and I'm scared because I'm not sure I could do it. But these are not valid reasons, in my opinion. Anything worthwhile is hard work, so unless I want a mindless job, that comes with any career path. The whole family and life aspect? Well, the feminist in me will not let that be a valid reason either. I should not have to choose between having kids and being a scientist. Male or female, doing science should not be incompatible with having a family and a life. Right now, it may be that way for many many people, but if I choose not to continue something that I enjoy and have a passion for because I felt that they were mutually exclusive options well then it is going to continue to be that way for all those youngsters coming after me. To me, that was unacceptable. Science culture will not change unless we (men and women who want to have a proper balance) make it change. We make it change by participating in science, our way and demonstrating that it can be done. We can be role models and a light to those behind us. I am woman scientist, hear me roar!
That last reason, fear, that is never a valid reason for not doing something .
4 days ago