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TeaGirl last won the day on June 11 2013

TeaGirl had the most liked content!

About TeaGirl

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    Mechanical Engineering (PhD)

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  1. I did this. I thought I was a special snowflake. Do NOT do this. Seriously. I don't care how awesome you think this professor might be, or how great their research is, or how smart and tough and can manage stress you think you are: If the prof is super charismatic, very successful, shows no sign of humility or respect for other people's work in the field, talks like they know everything, and if you hear that other students have left his/her group and either consider them difficult or advise against working with them then: RUN. RUN. RUN. These professors tend to be not as knowledgeable as they seem, delegate everything, busy themselves with a lot of academic politics to further their own careers, milk their students and employees and their work for all they are worth for their own benefit, treat their subordinates like doormats, and often have no idea about your own project yet are perfectly fine with swooping in and dictating what should be done without discussion that every step becomes a fight of proving them wrong, which you constantly have to do wasting huge amounts of time and energy, and they have to micro-manage everything. I am in my third year and I would quit the whole PhD had it not been for my visa situation. These difficult high stress professors will make your life just constant anxiety and depression. Don't be deluded by a good first few months, they are likely busy making someone else's life miserable, but believe me it will happen. /rant.
  2. I think you just made me wake up my roommate with my unladylike bark of laughter. Oh dear. I'm not proud to admit that I do this sometimes. Not act on it, but at first impression I become intimidated by very well dressed sexy women and imagine them as mean or not nice. I learned to keep a tight lid on my reaction though, and luckily enough, one of these women ended becoming one of my best friends.
  3. Wow, my real answer is pretty simple. I failed at a lot of other paths I tried. I realized I was good at this research thing and I really needed a big change in my life. So here I am giving this my best shot. All the other reasons about career and research goals came after as support, but not what initially pushed me into this.
  4. Oh man, I've made so many profiles on different sites I get invited to I don't even know anymore, haha. I did go through most once by googling myself and trying to remove unused ones and updating most. I try to keep the academia.edu one and LinkedIn updated on a regular basis though
  5. I'm really sorry if I gave that impression. I quoted you to answer your question, but that bit at the end wasn't attacking you personally, I was just expressing my frustration. I felt like every time I made a statement, the response (not from you personally, but overall) was to brush it aside either as insignificant statistically, or as me somehow not recognizing my situation, when this thread was asking about personal experiences not statistical averages. It's possible I'm looking at/understanding this all wrong and got a little caught up, and if so I apologize . Again, that particular statement was not addressed to you personally but in response to DTB on defending myself, which isn't really the expectation walking into a friendly discussion forum. I'm not exactly submitting a peer-reviewed article here nor expecting to have to defend everything I say. Now who is putting words in whose mouth ? I did not imply this at all. All I said that given my experiences, readings on the topic, and yes, my own intelligence, I understood well enough my own situation to recognize it if it occurred. I wouldn't presume to speculate on other women when I don't know their situation!
  6. Well, it's one thing when someone is curious and asking for extra details, and another when the tone is accusatory and insisting I'm wrong till proven otherwise. I did want to talk about the studies that were posted though. I keep wondering about the difference in pay/promotion and whether it's the system that is responsible for it by actively denying higher pay or promotions, or whether women aren't negotiating. We have a faculty/grad student women's group organized by our female faculty members that meets up a few times per semester and discusses women's issues that are relevant to our careers. We were discussing the book "Lean in" and one of the points raised was how many of us tended to under-appreciate our own achievements. Actually that was the point many of the female faculty in the group were trying to convey to the grad students, not to wait to be told that you are good, but knowing that you already are. Another book that talked about the same issue is "Women Don't Ask." The woman who recommended it to me hadn't asked for a raise in the 2 years she was at her company because she didn't feel like she earned it yet. After she read the book, she went to her boss and asked for a raise. She got it too. Contrast that to her younger husband, who after only 4 months on the job, deemed himself experienced enough to go ask for a raise and a promotion. It struck a chord because I find it very difficult to ask for things. Do others here also find it difficult to ask for things (extra pay, more recognition, etc.)? It seems common enough that multiple popular books are written about it, but I wonder where exactly in our lives are we picking this up?
  7. Look, I get what you're saying. I agree with you on the statistics. However, keep in mind that statistics are an average. That means you'll have cases on both end of the spectrum. My personal experience doesn't negate the experience of thousands of women, but neither does theirs negate mine. 1) I figure you're just using my example as a general point. In my personal example, I figured that out by by seeing them objectively do better in exams and manage more difficult projects than what I could do. I don't suffer from false humility, but I give credit where credit is due. 2) I never said academic discrimination didn't exist or wasn't even more prevalent, I just shared my own personal experience. You say that you accept both cases might exist, yet you argue vehemently against one when it does? I don't understand. 3) Well, my undergrad department chair, who was my prof and who I did some research with and interacted with quite a bit was a woman and one of my role-models. She was, in my opinion, one of the best in the dept. if not the best and she's now the vice-provost. I had a male advisor during my MS who treated me pretty equally to my male project partner, and both he and I were pretty similar down to our same gpa's. My advisor was supportive and helped me a lot in my career. My two current co-advisors are male and female. I also have worked with both male and female students. I base my purely personal experiences based on those comparisons. Finally, I'm sorry that you seem to dislike my own experience because it doesn't match the data, but I dislike having to offer up my history as evidence for making a simple statement, and then having my every statement questioned for validity. While it's great that we're having a discussion, I've experienced far more discrimination than just gender based in other areas of my life. I know what discrimination is and what it's not, and I'm intelligent enough to recognize it without needing someone who has never even met me to question my ability to do so. It feels very patronizing. I'd love to talk about the studies, especially about the inequality in pay and promotions. However, you're right, I'm feeling personally singled out in this thread for being a bit different, which is making me feel defensive and on the whole is a little ironic considering the topic of this thread.
  8. Do you happen to have the source for that? I'm interested in reading that study. Also, just as a note, I'm not saying I've never experienced gender discrimination in my life, because I have. I faced a lot of that applying to the job market, especially outside the U.S., and in other areas as well. I was just responding to the question which asked about discrimination specifically in the academic/grad school setting.
  9. To be perfectly clear, I was never discriminated against academically and I was never "hiding" anything. I've never felt the "boy's club" thing in my field whether socially or academically. Socially speaking, being a male dominated field, you will see male students hanging out in groups a lot of the time (especially when there was only 8 girls in class of 80 in my undergrad). If I'd felt intimidated by intruding on an all-male group perfectly naturally doing male-oriented activities, I might've stayed away. If I'd thought about gender discrimination a lot, I might've attributed my inability to fit in to gender discrimination. I didn't though. Perhaps, naively, I wasn't aware that I was supposed to be discriminated against based on gender. I just walked up to the all-male groups, said hello, introduced my awkward self and made friends. The group naturally adjusted its social dynamics to suit everyone. Academically, I have never felt discriminated against. I want to earn the respect of my colleagues and professors, both male and female, not because I'm a woman but because I'm good at what I do. It's how it's supposed to work. I worked very hard to be good but comparing myself to close male colleagues and friends I've never had to work harder than they did to earn the same respect. If there were a couple of guys generally regarded as smarter or better, it was because they were actually smarter and put in more work than I did, and not because they were male and I was female. Some men do think they're better researchers when they're not, but so do some women. I have two co-advisors, one male and one female. They both think they're always right and have the better idea/plan, but clearly they can't both be right when they disagree on scientific opinions so often. It's not some male specific issue but rather than a human ego issue. Unfortunately, the path to becoming a researcher/prof. tends to foster having a bit of an ego about how much better your research is than everyone else's. I've rarely met a "humble" professor to be honest, male or female. I respect both of your opinions, but I don't understand why it's so hard to believe that someone didn't experience gender discrimination just because it contradicts your world view or personal experiences. While I'm 100% certain that there are plenty of women facing real gender discrimination, I find discounting the experiences of women who say they are not and looking for discrimination where there is none is itself discriminatory against both genders: It discriminates against women by belittling their minds and not assuming them intelligent enough to understand their own personal experiences, and by not treating them as adults responsible for their own shortcomings. It discriminates against men by belittling any success they have to favoritism, wrongly attributing gender discrimination to them and making them contend with some invisible unknowable meter of what exactly that is supposed to be.
  10. I just read through this entire thread and wow. I sympathize but if I were in your shoes I would've gotten a new advisor about 2-3 weeks in. I know we're on a PhD forum, but I don't think it's acceptable that working on weekends is taken for granted even if we do pull an all-nighter or work the odd weekend when there's a deadline. You're a human being with rights and not a slave. Personality clashes are one thing but it's another when she asks you to work every single weekend when you've already put in all your weekdays, let alone telling you that you shouldn't be sleeping. What kind of person even says that!!! You've gotten some good advice on this thread. I don't know what field you're in so I'm not sure how it works, but in my field especially in the first year, no one expects that your first advisor is going to be "the one." It's pretty common for students to switch. You just have to find a professor willing to work with you, and then politely inform your current advisor that it's not working out and you are going to switch. I switched advisors and all I had to do was email our graduate secretary the name of my new advisor and let my old one know that I was switching. I feel like the power dynamic between you two is all tilted to her side. Maybe it's because I worked prior to starting a PhD but my advice is that you need to take some of that power back. I feel the only way to do that is to become more independent and develop an inner meter of how well you are progressing and what needs to be done, and care less about what she thinks. I think this is exactly what she's pushing you to do. It's hard but as long as you are looking for external approval from her, she's going to be the bogeyman. My second piece of advice is don't be available all the time. I can't stress enough how important this is in a power dynamic especially in a work/academic environment. If she emails you, you don't need to drop everything and respond. In fact, if she emails you on the weekend, unless there's a Monday deadline don't respond till Monday morning. You should really make this into an absolute rule. And for goodness sake, take the weekends off and get some rest. I go nuts and get depressed if I don't get enough sleep and at least a day per week where I can decompress!
  11. Okay, a couple of thoughts. You need to talk with you research professor/advisor/ whoever is conducting this whole thing. Make it absolutely clear that since you would like to set up regular meeting, perhaps on a biweekly basis to discuss progress in the project and communicate. If you don't set up regular meetings with your professor, I can assure you these problems will not go away. The colleague who is talking about you behind your back: Avoid her completely if possible. Do the bare minimum interaction with her and do not "chit chat" or "socialize." I've dealt with similar people before, and there's no fixing the toxicity I'm afraid. Also, frankly, sometimes you need to be confrontational and confident. The next time she tells you that the professor doesn't think much of you, bring it up at the next meeting with professor with her present. Something like "X told me that you might not be satisfied with my progress. I was wondering what I might do to improve that." Sometimes, the only reason people gossip or lie, is because they think they won't get called out on it. Finally, no offense, but this whole environment sounds like a bit of a mess. I have a visiting scholar friend in another dept. dealing with a similar toxic environment of behind the back talking, stealing credit for work, and a professor who doesn't know/care what is going on. My advice is that if it's possible since you are volunteering, tell the professor that you don't think this research is a fit for you and find another professor to work with because you don't want to deal with this for the next few years.
  12. I'm in a pretty male dominated field (mech engineering) but I can't say I've ever felt any sort of gender discrimination at all in grad school, or in undergrad for that matter. I work hard because I want to do well and want to work hard, but I don't feel I'm working any harder than my male colleagues for the same amount of recognition or feedback from my advisors/professors. When I do work harder, it's obvious in my work output and my advisor recognizes the effort. Disclaimer: It's all about results though. You can work as hard you want, if nothing substantial comes out of it, you're not going to get an A for effort on the intelligence perception from anybody. That has little to do with gender. Speaking purely from experience, I've found that perceived intelligence often doesn't much to do with how intelligent you are, but rather with how well you deliver on results and how much you project confidence in these results while doing it.
  13. Something something about hills and valleys. I started off great, now I'm just starting to feel burnt out. I'm having the opposite experience. My Masters was a breeze. For my PhD, I felt on top of everything for the first 1-2 months of the semester, then it started snowballing. I feel like I'm constantly swimming against a tide of work with no end in site. At least not till after my quals in January. It's affecting my mood and it doesn't help that I bombed an exam, as in I think I was in the bottom couple of grades in class (my fault) because I prioritized a million other things I had that week (term project proposal, homework, TA review session+exam+extra office hours that I had to prepare for, research) over that second exam and didn't study properly for it. Added bonus, it's an area I'm not very strong in compared to most other classmates who seem to be experts. I think an A is still within the realm of possibility because I have near perfect scores on everything else in that course, just 100 times extra pressure and hard work on giving in a perfect term project. I just feel like I'm working all the time to get things done, and when I'm not, I worry about things like internships, life after grad school and if this was all worth it, and WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE!! I realize I'm very lucky that I'm managing, that I like my advisor and research, that I'm getting an RA next semester so I don't have to deal with TA'ing, and while I don't love my courses, they're okay (except one. Yeah, that one I hate, haha). It's just that I'm so mentally exhausted I'm having a hard time staying positive. Whew... it felt good to get all that off my chest. Back to the hamster wheel.
  14. I'm pretty happy with how things are going. I'm getting very busy with courses/TA/research but I'm enjoying it, yet still having time to do other fun stuff on the weekend. I try to get ahead with work whenever I have free time so I can go out later in the week. My advisor seems pretty great. I did go through the impostor syndrome about 2 weeks in. However, after getting some work done for my advisor and another professor, and receiving an "impressive" comment from both on it, I felt like I belonged I was worried my introverted-ness might make it hard to make new friends, but I underestimated how much I've matured and grown confident socially in the 2 years I've worked as an instructor since my MS. I just ignored my fears and threw myself into introducing myself and speaking to people whenever possible and so far, it's going pretty swimmingly *knocks on wood*
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