Dr. Mom, My Adventures as a Mommy-Scientist

Discussion of my journey from grad school to postdoc to tenure with two kids, a husband, (and a bit of breast cancer) in tow.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I talk too much!

I just came from a meeting with a prospective student collaborator and am so embarrassed. I come from a long line of talkers, and unfortunately let it get away from me. Earlier in my scientific life, fear kept me in check, but for better or worse, I have developed into a knowledgeable confident scientist.

I was meeting with a first year graduate student who is interested in our work. His advisor is doing some neat stuff that would solve some of the problems that we have been facing, and he would like to collaborate with us. Ideally the conversation would have been an exchange of ideas: me saying this is what we do and the problems we have, him saying this is what we do and how we can solve those problems, and then me saying great here are the next steps we should take. Oh, if only!

Instead it degenerated into a rant on my part about the project how great it is, sure we have some problems, but they're only a small limitation...and then the worst part...hey let me give you some advice on your Ph.D, unsolicited no less. I talked about the balance between classes/research and how a post-doc would be in a better position to help us (fewer commitments) and how he should be concerned with quick results over innovation (get more funding), etc. I just hope I didn't scare the guy off because he seemed good.

My enthusiasm for mentoring just seemed to run away from me. This is a problem I have. I swear give me one Ph.D. and I seem to think I know how to run the place! Any other Chatty Kathy's out there?


At 10:31 AM , Anonymous needtomakeupaname said...

Don't worry about it. That you care at all is a wonderful testament to your character. Tell him how you felt.

At 4:07 PM , Anonymous Zuska said...

Much better a chatty Cathy than a remote, uncaring prof who isn't interested in mentoring students. I suspect your enthusiasm may be an effective recruiting tool in itself. If he's turned off by that, maybe he would not be a good collaborator for you. I've felt the same way you do, when in the past I've waxed verbose in advice mode. But most of the feedback I've ever gotten is that students appreciated my caring and advice, even if they did not follow it all. If the PhD has made you feel new, stronger confidence in the worth of your opinions and knowledge - that is a good thing! Embrace it!


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