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A balanced description?

SLForsburg forsburg at sc2.salk.edu
Tue Aug 16 10:03:09 EST 1994

> In article <32p0rr$onr at darkstar.UCSC.EDU>,
> Cathy Quinones <quinones at orchid.UCSC.EDU> wrote:
> stuff cut
> >
> >If I were reading these posts and were about to start grad school, without
> >having had any previous exposure to it (from undergrad research or the
> >such) I would imagine a veritable gauntlet a la Tailhook.  Is this *really*
> >what other women have faced upon entering graduate school?  And if not,
> >can someone else give a bit more balanced description?  I know there are
> >women who read this newsgroup who are considering grad school or even
> >next Fall, and I would hate to have them go into school with such a 
> >hysterical/paranoiac vision.
> >

Is graduate school easy?
Is it full of sexists trying to make you fail? 
Are there people who would like to see you fail?
Sure.  There are jerks everywhere, not just in academics.
There is no denying that there are people who are obnoxious, and other
people who have suffered because of them. But that doesnt mean everyone is
either a jerk or a sufferer. Science is still a male-dominated
profession.  But it IS changing, because there are men and women who are
making it change. I've run into some situations in my career in which
gender is clearly a negative factor. And, yes, it is clear at times I am
treated differently because I'm female, which I must be aware of, and
challenge.  But the majority of scientists I have interacted with,
especially young scientists,  have been far more interested in the quality
of my science than my karyotype, which is encouraging.  WE can't change
the system, or attitudes, or the nature of human interactions overnight
and there is still a long way to travel.   But to paint such an
apocalyptic picture is inappropriate.  

So for the readers of this board who are thinking of grad school, I
suggest the following:
Be prepared to work VERY hard.  
Have confidence in yourself.


forsburg at sc2.salk.edu
    formerly forsburg at molbiol.ox.ac.uk

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