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Women in Academia: Now Take a Deep Breath”¦AND CELEBRATE!

It’s the end of the semester/quarter! You made it! I hope you’re celebrating with some nice Ryan Gosling memes (now in library science and biostatistics flavors) or a big glass of your favorite cold-weather beverage. Sure, work isn’t done, but things feel a lot looser around the holidays and without the stresses of classes (being in them or teaching them or grading for them) or tri-weekly seminars, there’s a little more breathing room. So take a look back over this semester and pat yourself on the back.

So this is just going to be a general feel-good, hoorays-for-all post. If that is not for you, please come back next week when I talk about an issue facing women in academia (or just academia). But for the rest of you, here we go!

Chances are good that within the last semester you’ve:

–          Contributed to the intellectual growth of at least one young adult. Heck yes education! Heck yes using research and scholarship to strengthen the value of mentorship programs! Take that, jerks who hate knowledge.

–          Created a novel piece of information. Maybe it’s not publishable, maybe it’s not much on its own, but heavens to betsy is it great to add to the general knowledge base of the world. Yes, in all likelihood, it is but one drop in the ocean of information, but without all those drops, that ocean would be like the Salton Sea ““ salty, polluted, and an international issue.

–          Pushed yourself for a deadline, and learned something about yourself in the process. If Lifetime was a movie channel dedicated to awesome movies about young women exploring science instead of a movie channel dedicated to terrifying movies about young women dying or finding love, this semester could be broadcast all over the United States. You got that grant application, that syllabus, that paper done and got to know yourself and your interests and limits better. And if it didn’t get done, that’s OK, too.

–          Had to defend your field to a) someone you love, b) someone you loathe, or c) someone you don’t even know but thinks that discussing the validity of your educational path after having only known you for 15 minutes (and only that long because the fasten seatbelt sign is on) is a good idea. What a load of bollocks-breathed horse-hockey. Your field is awesome.  The only person you should be justifying your work to is the funding committees, and even then it’s a little dicey.

–          Felt good about what you do. In the end, most of us are here because we very much love our fields. We might not like every aspect of what we do (hello endless meetings), but we love the questions we ask, and the freedom we get to ask those questions and take them as far as we can. Once that inquisitiveness has been awakened, it’s awful hard to turn it off, so here’s to asking questions and enjoying the journey of finding the answers.

All in all, it’s pretty good.

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