I’ve been developing quite a reputation among my peers that I have labs with; if you are meek or shy or show any sign of not knowing what we are supposed to be doing, I will run you over. It will happen and we both won’t realize what’s going on until I’ve taken over the entire lab so that it gets done correctly and you’re cleaning glassware. It’s a horrible, nasty habit. It’s so bad, in fact, that I’ve scheduled all my labs with a friend who pushes back with just as much force so that I don’t overpower too many poor people.
Exactly, Ursula. Sometimes you just get me.
I have been trying to change this about myself since the beginning of the year when I first realized what I was doing, but I haven’t had much success. I mean, it’s the middle of April and it would still be happening if I didn’t have awesome lab partners who also understand what we’re supposed to do. All year, I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel the need to be so controlling when my lab partner is not as aware of what’s going on.
*side note: I by no means consider myself more intelligent or better than those people by any means- labs are simply more difficult for some people, but we’re all under a strict time constraint and a huge portion of my grade is dependent on these labs*
First of all, I have always been horrible at group projects; I always got stuck with someone who didn’t understand the project and since we were getting the same grade no matter who did what, I would have to do the entire thing. So I guess this has been a habit in-the-making for about 16 years, but there was something more happening in the back of my brain. I just didn’t realize what it was until I had to write a research paper on a pop culture issue. Because my entire life revolves around science, I had no other choice than to write about science…for an English paper…(sometimes I hate myself) so I started researching gender inequality in the science field.
Just a few rules of thumb:
1. If you are a woman and do not want to be scared by the statistics that support gender bias in any workplace, do not look them up.
2. Definitely do not research the statistics extensively.
3. And do NOT research them extensively for the field that you are going into that is notorious for being male-dominated.
It is terrifying. For instance, one study that was done on this showed that on a standardized test, women had to do 2.5x better than men to even be considered equivalent to them; women with PhD’s are consistently hired less often than men with PhD’s; female scientists are consulted less in groups, and when they make a comment it is often dismissed; the list goes on and on. After I started researching this, it donned on me that I knew about the inequality before I even started researching it, or I would’ve never decided to write a paper on this issue. I mean, I even explained it to one of my friends when the issue came up one time because he had no idea that this was a problem for women. It finally hit me why I am the way that I am in my science labs; if I want my male professors to respect me and understand my capabilities as a future scientist, I have to prove that I am more capable than my lab partners at times; otherwise, I risk being labeled the same way as them by the people I look up to and respect. I am so fortunate to have parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles who have always told me that I can do anything; gender was never once mentioned. I was never told, “you can be a scientist, but it might be really hard to get into that field because you’re a girl so just be aware of that.” Now I’ve realized that my professors know my male lab partner’s name, but not mine; we are always together, sit together at everything, are almost equally involved, both get good grades, and my name is not known. I mean, there could be a kajillion different reasons why that is the case, but I think it’s interesting that that has been a pattern this year.
Like I said, it’s very possible that this research has just made me paranoid about how my professors treat me versus my lab partner, but it also supports everything that I’ve read. So yes, I really need to continue to work on my overpowering personality when it comes to lab work, but at what point does cooperative turn into seemingly incompetent? If anybody knows of the perfect middle ground, please let me know.
I tried to find a good science joke for you all for like 30 minutes. There aren’t any. I need a life.
P.S. Yes I changed my blog name. The last one simply did not suit me; plus klutz and kerfuffle sound super cool together.