I wrote this post thinking about my Phd journey so far. Like many novice researchers, I struggle with finding out who I am in this new world called academia, where everyone ‘speaks funny’ and seems to be able to identify with some expertise in a certain field of knowledge.
Names are important, even more so when you are an aspiring researcher. Marta writes about her experience in academia and identifies three possible ways of dealing with ‘name trouble’.
–So, what’s your name?
–Oh, Magda! I have a friend…
–No, that would be another popular Polish name. But mine is Marta.
–Manga? Well that sounds Japanese!
–No, actually it’s Marta. M-A-R-T-A
–You know what? Just call me Martha.
Researchers often struggle with how they are categorized by others
Researchers should be free from constraints that prevent them from the pursuit of scientific truth – this is an idea that universities all over the world like to pride themselves on. However, even the purest, most basic research is subject to pressures which are never exclusively scientific. Researchers are subject to a number of social constraints as they compete for resources, pursue careers, and network with others. In a nutshell, research is a social practice – a practice which does not only turn around ideas.
In my own career, I am often reminded of the social aspects of research when I interact with other researchers:I find it painful to be defined by a limited set of academic career parameters!