If I have a dollar for everytime I say sorry…

You worked hard all your life and you get into a PhD program. You feel like the king of the world. But fret not, graduate school will quickly put you in your place. As a graduate student, you are at rock bottom of the rock bottom in the pecking order. Its a bonded manual labor kind of thing where the university pays your tuition and assistantship which means you are owned. Nothing is yours anymore. Everything can go in the blink of an eye. Advisors will probably get angry at you for no reason. They dump their feelings of the day onto you. And you already have 10 times more feelings than them.

conversation escalation example:

Me: Hi, I went through the sequencing data and its absolutely golden. No mutations.

Boss: Look at this. I just performed the HindIII digest and look how crappy it is.

[The gel looks crappy because of incomplete digestion but there were the required bands in some of the lanes]

Me: Yes, its crappy but this is good. This is a positive result.

Boss: You know what? I get irritated. I have to do double the work because of the shitty products that you use. I had to run and get new HindIII because the old one sucks. I have a lot of work to do. [turns her back to me]

So for no fault of mine, the shitty performance of an enzyme was attributed to me.

Me: (in a small voice) I’m sorry. [and walks away]

Hope you enjoyed this little nugget of my life today. I know I sound so depressing but graduate school is an unhealthy place. This struggle is real and I need to tell this story to people in the world who want to do their PhD.



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