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cekirk at halnet.com cekirk at halnet.com
Wed Nov 3 09:41:06 EST 1993


Thank you for a wonderful post on how to deal with postgraduate blues.

cekirk at halnet.com

> From BIOSCI-REQUEST%net.bio.net at isch01asna.halnet.com Tue Nov  2 21:29 CST 1993
> To: womenbio%net.bio.net at isch01asna.halnet.com
> From: klier%cobra.uni.edu at isch01asna.halnet.com
> Subject: Re: Victimization.
> Date: 2 Nov 93 14:45:57 GMT
> In article <1993Nov2.211339.4625 at emba.uvm.edu>, 
> brianf at med.uvm.edu (Brain Foley) writes:
> > ...I also talked to 8 male PhD candidates, and found that all of us had at
> > one time also felt like quitting with a MS degree.  It seems to be just a
> > result of the stress of working toward a PhD and the stress of seeing how
> > hard the new faculty and postdocs have to work to get funding.  Of those
> > of us who discussed quitting with an MS with our advisors or other
> > faculty, all of the males were encouraged to continue the PhD route.  All
> > 4 of the females were encouraged to take the MS and go. 
> Well, my office mate and I solved it a different way.  He could quit on
> Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  I could quit on Tuesdays, Thursdays,
> and Saturdays.  Neither of us could quit on Sundays.  ;-)  As a result,
> we both knew that we weren't the only one thinking of quitting, and
> we felt free to "ventilate" at each other... and it always seemed that
> the days that I was really, really going to quit weren't "my days"
> to quit.  Often a decent night's sleep makes things look a bit better.
> We also tried to maintain some interests outside of research and
> dissertation... for awhile, we had a scrabble game going on an otherwise
> empty table... you played a word when you reentered the office, and
> wrote your score down.  Not much, but it did seem to help the "trapped
> in botany" feeling.
> Where I start having trouble with your post is the "all of the males
> were advised to continue, all of the females were advised to quit".
> If you're unsure of your abilities, having an "authority figure" tell
> you that you're not going to cut it usually convinces you to quit.
> There are exceptions, of course... I'm stubborn enough that if someone
> tells me I can't do something, I'll figure out how to do it just to
> spite them.... ;-)
> > I think that if I felt that I was being victimized, I too would have taken
> > the MS and left.  But because I am a white male, I did not even think of
> > how I might be discriminated against.  The females, on the other hand
> > started looking for differences in how they were treated vs. how the males
> > were treated.  You often find what you are looking for.
> Just wait until you start looking for a job... the shoe may be on the
> other foot then.  Wish I had a nickel for every time I've heard a white
> male say, "well, I didn't get the job because they had to hire a black
> (or woman, or fill in your favorite minority)."   Truth?  Maybe sometimes.
> or maybe just calling oneself a victim because that's easier to deal with
> than "maybe I'm not good enough".
> I worked with a teacher of 7th grade general science this summer, helping
> her analyze surveys her students completed about their attitudes to science.
> One fascinating bit popped out almost immediately.  The males uniformly
> rated themselves as "good in science" or "very good in science".  Only one
> female (of more than 100) rated herself as "very good in science"; most
> said they were "average".  The teacher's view of her 200+ students?  She
> said she had about 3 male students who were very good, and about 15 females.
> The best predictor of whether a female student thought she was "good in
> science" was having parents who told her she was.
> As an advisor, a role rather new to me, I'm finding myself talking to 
> grad students all the time about whether they should/should not go on
> for a PhD.  I try to be very careful about giving specific advice
> about continuing... instead I try to help the grad student clarify what
> they want to do with their degree, if there is a way to do it without
> the degree, and most of all, I try to keep them from acting hastily.
> A student who wanted to resign last year came to me, and was absolutely 
> adamant he was quitting NOW.  I talked him into letting me turn his
> resignation in to the office, and I told him I was going to sit on it
> for a couple of days because I was going out of town.  When I got back,
> there was a message on my machine... "DON'T TURN IN THAT LETTER!  My gels
> ran!".
> Kay Klier  Biology Dept  UNI (who still thinks about quitting on Tuesdays,
>                              Thursdays and Saturdays, but can't because it 
>                              would cause too many students too much trouble)

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