I think a lot of my change in attitude started with my Master's,
particularly my supervisor, a woman. I would strongly suggest finding a
supportive supervisor for your degree, someone who has experience as a
supervisor and recognizes the ups and downs of research, and that you
are not an expert when you start your degree. While I don't think these
traits are unique to female supervisor, there are not that many people
out there with them. Having a female supervisor also gave me a role
model, after seeing how she operated and supervised I felt I could and
wanted to do the same. She is still a mentor and contact for me. While
she was the start of my confidence boost, the research for my PhD.
and learning to stand up to my PhD supervisor has further the process.
If I had had an easier time (not that it has been that terrible) during
my PhD I might not have become as assertive. I cannot emphasize enough
the importance of a good first supervisor, I would not have survived my
PhD supervisor if he had been my Master's supervisor.
I would not recommend grad school for everybody, but if you are
interested in it give a Master's a try, it is short enough but usually
intense enough for you to decide if it is the right thing or not.
Seanna good luck to all future lab rats