Jul 25, 2008

Vow to never become Jaded...

...with a capitol J.

According to Webster:  it means to be "made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience or by surfeit"

In going though graduate school I feel like too many people graduate a bit on the jaded side.  Worse yet, that being jaded is something to joke about AND is just a part of developing as a scientist.  We all know that science works about 1% of the time....maybe...and its 100% alright to get bummed out and unmotivated during the lowest of the low's.  It is also understandable to vent to others in order to keep plodding along.   But I do NOT understand why it is socially accepted to be a Jaded student...to be completely negative about the research he/she does, to avoid showing up to journal clubs/seminars, or to never participate in scientific discussions. What does being burnt out do for you in becoming the best you can be??  How does it help your science, your field, or your coworkers??  

I really only notice these attributes in young scientists, i.e. graduate students and post-docs.  Does this mean that the Jaded ones eventually give-up, get use to it, change their prospectives, or do they hide that inner Jaded color as they progress??  Or maybe it's just that grad students/postdocs can't seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel until they get there??  

Anywhichway, science is exciting and challenging...please don't let it beat you down.  Here, I'll give ya a hug to keep those spirits up....*Hug*

5 comments:

Charlotte said...

I just finished my first degree, so I'm not a postgrad/ grad student yet, but here's my take.

What made me cynical and bitter at my uni was the stuff I had to do that wasn't related to the course at all - the bits that are put in as training for employment, not for educational value. My course was also very much based around a cycle of lectures-cramming-exams, with a syllabus that got a bit disjointed, and little time or encouragement to read around the subject or explore deeper. I guess (I hope) that's not so relevant at your level.

Plus, of course, there was the chronic underfunding problem and the VC's salary/free house/free car...

Epicanis said...

Like Charlotte, I've also just finished my Bachelor's degree...finally (my "20-year 4-year degree"). I figure if I'm not jaded by NOW I must be pretty resistant to it.

Looking into three possible graduate programs now (Microbiology, Food Science, or a hybrid business/science "Biotechnology" master's degree).

Rhea Miller said...

Oooooo...Good Luck making your choice Epi!! I really enjoy graduate school...for the most part ;)

Biotech eh?? what do you do with that degree?? sounds interesting....

Anonymous said...

i'm entering a PhD program this fall (as in 2 weeks!) and have working and labs for several years prior, and have sen so so much of this. it's so wierd how such a negative quality is accepted, seen almost as part of the quirks of an academician. i've also seen this same jadedness in the profs, not only re: research but also teaching, which is really upsetting. but when the complain, at the same time i usually find thier complaints a little naive. wow, 18 year olds zone out when you talk about decartes in an intro level class? teens are a pain in general? it's hard to get grants, and sometimes your research interests aren't as sexy as whatever is popular this year? the chair is a stuffed shirt (but you don't want that position -- too much work). when wasn't that true?

i hope that in some way, going into my program NOT being idealistic --knowing science can be hard, institutions can be lanbrythian, IRBs can bite, politics are a part of being human, etc will prevent me from becoming jaded, and instead allow me to see the roses though the thorns.

Rhea Miller said...

Anon. That's exactly what i try to do. You can be realistic and not necessarily sour...and i personally think it does help prevent you from becoming jaded.

Good Luck with school!! being the nerd that i am i think grad school rocks.