Now that I’m (apparently) a grown-up…

Published October 1, 2012 by crazyinpink

I officially became a PhD student four days ago.  And, suddenly, it is as if I’ve stumbled past the fur coats and into the magical world of adulthood.  Doing a PhD means you’re serious, you’re intellectual and you are somehow wiser than you were when you were finishing your Masters two weeks ago.  At least, this is the impression I’m getting.

Exhibit A:  There is a guy at uni, a third year PhD student, who has always treated me with disdain and condescension.  It all started over two years ago when I was giving a paper at a conference in Dublin and happened to be in his panel. He took one look at my pink dress, blonde hair and shiny lipgloss and decided I was a bimbo.  In a world where grey is not just a cultural source of excitement in its current literary form but an unspoken uniform for ‘boring academics’ with bad shoes I do tend to stand out.  I’m used to people making a snap judgement and talking to me like I’m five.  I know that after one tutorial with me or academic discussion, they backstep and realise they were wrong and actually, I do have a brain underneath all this blonde hair.  But not PhD guy.  He listened to my paper, even asked to see a copy in writing, and has continually met me at academic events since but has always held fast to his original impression of me.  But at some point over the last week, he has decided that I am worthy now that I have ‘PhD candidate’ after my name in the university.  And other people have been treating me differently too.  The transition from Bachelors to Masters was nothing like this.  Everyone just accepted that spending another year at uni was my way of hiding from the big bad job market. But now…it seems that they see me in a whole new light.

It has made me wonder if maybe I should see myself that way too.  Therefore, I present my PhD Resolutions both serious and ridiculous because, in reality, that is exactly what I am.

Now that I’m a grown-up…

1) I will not just go to academic functions for the free coffee and biscuits but will make an effort to ‘network’

2) I will buy a pipe that I never actually smoke but will sit in my office for me to chew on while I’m thinking deep thoughts

3) I will decorate my office in pink because that is who I am and to hell with the boring beige people

4) I will memorise one important-sounding quotation and use it in every situation when I don’t know what to say

5) I will recite this quotation while staring off significantly into the middle distance

6) I will find a way to incorporate Victorian crime writing into my research so I have a viable excuse to be in the same room with Benedict Cumberbatch

7) I will write everything important down in a notebook because thanks to all my medication I will forget something important

8) This notebook will, of course, be pink

9) I will stop waiting for things to happen and make them happen myself (Note: I put this into action the day I got my new student card, with an expiry date of Sept 2016, scary.  I decided that I would ask out Butter as we no longer work together and it would resolve whatever it is that has been going on between us.  It’s now four days later and he hasn’t replied)

10) I will stop worrying about whether or not I am eating too much chocolate because clearly, there are more important things for my brain to be thinking about.  And chocolate cures all things.



3 comments on “Now that I’m (apparently) a grown-up…

  • Now I’m not a PHD student, but I come across issues like this all the time in my working life.

    I don’t think it’s helped by the industry I work in (web development) being very male orientated, but you can practically feel the snap judgements in the air sometimes.

    It’s a constant process of correcting people onwhat my job role is, how I am more than capable of doing it and how I am as competent as my male colleagues.

    Deep down, I think some men are a little intimidated by a younger woman than them doing the same job they are. 🙂

    • Couldn’t agree more. I think that it’s just because I don’t look like everyone else that they assume that I’m not capable. Academia is very male-dominated, in my uni anyway, and the girls that are around are either very tomboyish or dress very conservatively with their hair in short dark bobs. When I walked into a seminar last week in a long dress with bright pink accessories, ridiculously tacky silver shoes and a yellow handbag I felt like the only non-mourner at a funeral. Luckily I don’t conform to other people’s expectations 🙂

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