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26 Struggles Science Majors Go Through Every Day

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Science is a hell of a field to be in. You have the power to do something no one has ever done before. Want to go to Mars? You can work on the technology that will let you get there. Interested in saving humanity from some awful disease? There’s a whole multi-billion dollar industry built on that. Science is a great world to work in, but there are a number of things about science that can drive you crazy. Even when your job is amazing, there will be struggles. Here are a few of the more common ones.

  1. You will spend the first three weeks at any new job reading more procedures than you read pages in the totality of your college career.
  2. You understand that, though science is, well, a science, the art of getting a procedure to work may involve prayer, superstition, and in extreme cases, sacrificial offerings. The pipette gods must be appeased.
  3. Nothing works the first time. You could be the guy or girl who invented the procedure and it’s still a crap shoot.
  4. Brewing beer in the laboratory is a temptation that few can resist taking advantage of.
  5. Sampling that beer on a long, late night is another temptation no one can resist.
  6. Speaking of late nights, your hours will probably be some unholy schedule consisting of late nights, weird weekends, and off-hours work. The good thing is that no one is expected in the lab or workshop before 10 a.m.
  7. You may not be religious, but you will follow government Good Laboratory Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices like they are your savior, Bible, and source of life.
  8. The thought of being audited by government regulators makes you want to go cry in a corner.
  9. You spend more time o in a lab coat and goggles than you do in normal clothing.
  10. Speaking of normal clothing, you haven’t seen anyone in a suit in months. Casual Friday can lead to people in the lab wearing nothing but sweatpants and a tank top under their lab coat.
  11. You will have coworkers who aren’t exactly “The Wolf of Wall Street” when it comes to being social.
  12. In trying to explain your day at work, you have to break out diagrams and flowcharts to actually get the point across to the non-scientific people around you.
  13. Working in science is a great conversation starter, but explaining quantum physics to people while drunk at a bar would be something even Stephen Hawking couldn’t do.
  14. You hate “The Big Bang Theory,” because it makes everyone in science look exactly like the stereotypes that we’ve dealt with for ages.
  15. You may not be a biologist, but random family members will ask for your opinion on evolution. If they’re of the incredibly religious variety, they may judge you for your “heathen beliefs.”
  16. Being the family member designated to debunk your extended family’s crazy Facebook posts about iodine, fluoride, and chemtrails gets really old, really fast.
  17. Just because you are a scientist does not mean you know everything about computers. You wish people would stop asking you to do tech support. You don’t work in IT.
  18. The eight to 12 month job search for something in your field makes the first year out of school incredibly depressing. The upside is that you’ll probably get a lot of experience outside your field during that time.
  19. Moving home looks really attractive when the average starting salary in your field is usually south of $35,000/year without a master’s degree.
  20. Lab cleaning days will always remind you that your actual apartment or house is a complete mess, yet you will do nothing about that when you get home.
  21. Your strong fundamental understanding of science will not stop you from having habits that are really questionable from a microbiological standpoint. The five-second rule is still real, damnit!
  22. Contrary to what you thought at the time, “I work in the drug industry,” is not a good lead in at the bar.
  23. “Work hard, play hard” is taken to new and exciting levels in the science and engineering worlds. If a scientist says, “Hold my beer,” take cover and come up with a good explanation for when the cops show up.
  24. “Officer, your radar gun is obviously off. Are you sure it wasn’t measuring in kilometers per hour?”
  25. You have had to fight the urge to say “fuck it,” and move to a small, skull-shaped island where you can just do mad science in peace.
  26. You have to walk past protesters on your way into work because something about the usually life-saving research you do bothers their political sensibilities.

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Jack Quesinberry

Recent graduate from the University of Maryland working in the biotech industry. I like to spend my weekends in DC ensuring my future political career will be one filled with a number of great scandals and equally great Sunday brunches. My alter ego is Whiskey Ginger.

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