Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lonely Graduate Life

This blog will detail the experiences and thoughts on current events in the technology and wider STEM fields, as they relate to women and graduate studies.

So... who am I?

I've been blogging for years (almost 1/3rd of my life, believe it or not) in different places online, mostly not open to the public. Livejournal to this day still has what I think are the best privacy controls, and I maintain a personal journal there which I love and would never give up. However, I feel that as I become more and more involved in the academic world, a more public blog on the topic at hand might be in order. I also have another blog called The Frugal Dorm Life which is a catalogue of different recipes and other tricks for living cheap in the dorms - which I aspire to do! However, I also think writing about more serious subjects and current events is important, and if I can reach out to others, women especially, who are struggling in a field which doesn't seem to fit them well, then all the better.

But I guess none of that is really about me! Well, to start off, I'm a first year master's student at BigEngineeringU. I'm not really comfortable giving away which university that is yet, but be assured that it's a great place, except that I'm not officially an engineer! I am a technology student, which is often viewed as the red-headed stepchild of the engineering college. I'm sure there'll be more to talk about on that subject later. My focus is in engineering graphics, specifically 3D modeling, and how they can best be utilized in the manfacturing and assembly industry. As an undergraduate at BigEngU, a great professor approached me about being on a funded research team, which at the time I happily accepted - it was a raise over my then current job, and I could do both at the same time, which I did for a while. Then I graduated, and was invited to stay on as research assistant while completing my graduate studies. At the time it sounded like a great idea - I had job offers but felt that if I were to go out and work in industry, I'd never want to come back and get a master's, so I might as well get it over while I was young and poor.

So here I am, young and poor, trying to make my way through an academic program that makes me feel more lost than I did as an undergraduate. Of course there are times (days even) that I feel like this was definitely the best decision I ever made. Then there are the days where I wonder what I could have been doing with that nice industry job and accompanying paycheck. But no matter what, this blog will hopefully catalogue some of the triumphs and difficulties of a woman making her way through a male-dominated field, and how she copes with the daily challenges. Stay tuned for my first rant... teacher/student fraternization.