kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
[personal profile] kaberett
Oh, goodness. Mostly, so far, that absolutely everything is dependent on lab and group and supervisor, because: every single interaction I've had with my supervisor, from the very first, has been absolutely stunning, including the best accessibility statement I've ever met. I'm supported, we tell jokes, I'm taught effectively and promptly, I'm told what I need to improve in clear and immediate terms, and things I'm doing correctly are flagged up specifically as reinforcement. My head of group gives us cheerfully drunken speeches about how, as a group, we're not like Wall Street, and this is a good thing; is prone to spending half an hour over dinner lecturing me on a general theme of Nazis Are Bad; and has informed me that if I bring cake to group meetings I'll get given money for ingredients for same in advance, out of the kitty, no need to faff about with expenses claims.

In group meetings we negotiate about who's going to be using what when, we collapse in helpless giggles over the state of the lab and the instruments, we talk about how our work's going and who should be doing what when. It's supportive and charming and friendly and kind, and it's great.

BUT OH DEAR GODS ABOVE THE BUREAUCRACY.

The irrelevant, self-contradictory, obligatory plagiarism course. The incompetent Disability Advisory Service. The LGBT soc organised as a social rather than welfare entity (with no trans rep). The endless paperwork relating to Existing While Disabled. The getting-outed-as-trans-on-my-first-day. The Grad School and obligatory Personal Effectiveness courses and all the bullshit that entails. The glacial rate at which getting me 24-hour access to my building is progressing. The Nice White Ladies getting their racism everywhere.

In short: I cannot even begin to imagine how I'd cope if it weren't for the fact that both supervisor and group are amazing.

One of my supervisors from first year undergrad saw the announcement I made on facebook about having received an offer from Imperial, and he politely but firmly requested that he get a chance to talk to me on the phone. He proceeded to spend an entire lunchbreak talking to me about systemic problems at Imperial and the sexism his then-partner was mired in; and he relaxed the moment I told him my supervisor was female. (And my group is, at all levels, a pretty representative breakdown, genderwise.)

So it boils down more or less to this: I'm having a fantastic time when I'm allowed to Just Get On With Science; I love my lab; I'm really enjoying teaching, for all that I facepalm repeatedly about how what I've done so far could be handled much, much better; and it only starts to drag at me when I start interacting with people significantly outside my fairly insular research group and I have to deal with paperwork, which appears to have been uniformly designed to be as obstructionist as possible, never mind misc other -isms.

And them's me thoughts, etc etc etc!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-12-31 09:26 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
Ugh, bureaucracy. I suppose there's no money to get you a scribe to deal with those issues, is there?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-03 11:11 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] swaldman
Interesting to hear. I suspect that much of the bureaucracy is common to universities in general... I'm partially insulated from it by being on a tiny self-sufficient campus, but every time I have to interact with Edinburgh or any of their automated systems it seems to become Difficult.

It sounds as though your group is awesome, and I wish you a fantastic year of research :-)

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Alex

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