::Stretches front paws, yawning:: Oh, hi there. What are you doing here? Come to share my ray of sunshine for a warm cat nap? Alright, alright, come on over. There’s plenty of room in the sun.
What, you want to know who I am? Well who are you? A bit quiet, aren’t you?
Well, I’m a young woman (I was born in 1983 – so now you know how old I am). I got married in 2006. It was a wonderful, lovely wedding, and the honeymoon in Amsterdam was the Most. Amazing. Week. Ever. I live in NYC, but Husband and I can’t afford life in Manhattan yet. This means we live in one of the other burroughs. I love New York, and so does my husband. We live in an apartment with two cats. The older one, Fluffy*, is long-haired and very cuddly, and the younger one, Feisty*, is playful and soft. We’ve been slowly increasing the furnishings and homeliness of the place, but we’ve always had a lot of brand new electronics – consoles, computers, and games. Because we have our priorities straight.
Not so long ago I was a graduate student, in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field, at a research university. I began an MS/PhD program in Fall of 2006 (when I got married, incidentally). In the spring of 2007, I took the PhD qualifying exam, and failed. I was encouraged to stay and try again the next year. In February 2008 I received my MS, and continued on for a semester in pursuit of the elusive PhD. In April 2008 I took the quals again, and failed again.
When I started the program, I was still learning a lot about what grad school and academia are like. Ah, academia, how interesting you are. I read a lot about being a woman in a research university, and particularly a lot about mixing parenting with academia. I’d had significant experience in science research, but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to get me through all the other parts of grad school (classes, exams, departmental politics, big egos, slow change, gender-bias, crappy pay, little opportunity for work/life balance…the list could go on). By the time my department sent me on my way, I was quite ready to go and explore a world outside of the ivory tower.
What I saw when I got there was a different story.
Now, I talk about that other world and what it looks like from where I sit. I share my information as I look into careers outside of academia for the science and technology inclined, with a particular emphasis on work/life balance, gender issues, and finding happiness in my career.
I try to write honestly here. In the short life I’ve lived so far, I’ve experienced bulimia and depression, skin cancer, the pressure of being a perfectionist, and lots of love. I’ve heard tales of abuse, depression, mental sickness, and suicide in my own family, and I’ve grown a lot, through being honest and open with the people around me. I write about some of that here, in that honest and open fashion. Oh yeah, and I’m an atheist. Although I prefer the term secular humanist, because that says what I think a lot more than saying I’m an atheist does, since atheism is, by name, what I don’t think. I’m also a feminist. And a bisexual. Had enough yet? Running away?
Still there? You didn’t leave yet? Great. Stick around, and we can talk.
I could say more, but I’m starting to yawn. I think it’s about time for a nap, don’t you?
*Names changed to protect the innocent.