The trials and tribulations of a girl trying to make her way in the wide world of science

As I approach my final year the talk in the air around campus is all centered on one thing: Upping The Game.

Until this point a smattering of intelligence has been enough to get us lowly undergrads through the course, however, this is all about to change.

Smarts just isn’t going to be enough anymore. Intuition, self ambition and drive, skill and the like will need to come into play much more. Many of you will be thinking that these surely are all part of what makes intelligence, that how could we have got this far without using them before now. I can tell you something for nothing, the ability to remember lots of facts in the right order is a world away from becoming ‘proper science like’.

The perfect example of this has been my adventures of the last few weeks. I have begun the lab work for my dissertation, and it is a whole new ball game.

I always thought I was reasonably intelligent, even for an undergrad-the lowest of the low in the academic hierarchy- but most days I have been feeling as thick as shit to put it frankly. In hindsight, this is to be expected. I am working with a man 3 years into his PhD whose little finger probably hold more knowledge than my entire self, and rightfully so. I seem to be lacking so much of the basic laboratory knowledge. Its no ones fault in particular. It is a learn on the job exercise.

But apparently, as far as feeling not at all that bright goes, I am not alone. After having a conversation with one of my lecturers the other day he confessed that at times he still feels the same way, in science there is always someone how knows more than you until you become something akin to President of the Royal Society.

I’m not sure if this information makes me feel better or worse at the moment. It is hard to know how to feel, being surrounded by people that you feel in constant competition with- if I get less than her in the exam etc etc- it is hard to realise that you should only be in competition with yourself, improving your knowledge, moving forward and all that jazz.

Perhaps we should be content with that, competition with ourselves instead of others. But then again, thats half the fun of it sometimes.


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