Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
Most of the time you are optimizing your experiments. A little tweek here a little tweek there, making it just right to get clean data. So when you get to do the exciting experiments that give you the data you’re gonna put in your Thesis (aka the real data), the stakes are high.
High highs = data that’s clean/interesting = Yes! I’m awesome! Hello Nobel Prize!
Low lows = dirty data = the experiment isn’t going to work damn it!
This is the other thing. At this point your between 23 and 35, you know what you want and you are semi-knowledgeable! Being academic doesn’t mean you are an open minded amiable person (no Brians Cox’s here!) it just means you like science. So all the jerky people that you meet in the real world, they’re still around. And scientist are super competitive people, so the jerky kind of gets amplified. Especially when the pressure is on.
So when someone realises you borrowed their pipette or tube rack it can be a bit like lion taming. Just back away slowly. Fellow PhD students are ok most of the time, just completely unconcerned about you or your project. Let’s call them indifferent. I guess that’s why PhD students often feel so lonely.
Science vs Research
I love science. I’m not sure I feel the same about research, but I love science. I love love love science. My first love and all time love is science. So I’m not sure what I’ll do after. Maybe I’ll gather up enough annoance and anxiety to go into forensics and be the next Dexter. In truth, I just want to wear a HazMat suit. They are so cool. Geek sigh.
The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you just learned this morning.
“Education is the progressive realization of our ignorance”.