I love reading blogs, and when I need a little break, I often find myself scrolling through science blogs. Or fashion blogs. The former are mostly written by men (with the occasional blog by a senior female colleague). The latter are mostly written by young women. And the thing is, I find myself spending way more time reading through the latter. Not because I love fashion more than science. But because I can better relate to the bloggers’ perspective, and it resonates with me.
Connecting and extending the dots of prior knowledge to create something new and meaningful is the ideal I strive for in being a scientist. This ideal, together with the freedom to work on topics I am passionate about and good at, and a lifestyle that suits my needs, is what makes me rather convinced that choosing a career in academia was the right thing to do. And I am one of those who have been lucky enough to always have found financing, to have had caring supervisors, to have had not too many failed studies, to have finished my PhD well within time. But even though I have so far encountered very few obstacles on my professional path, I sometimes find myself doubtful and frustrated about the circumstances that come with working in science and certainly put a damper on the enthusiasm of even the most enthusiastic among us: low pay, low stability, high competition.
Both my enthusiasm and my doubts, I share them daily with my wonderful colleague Christina who sits next door, over lunch or a coffee. We discuss new findings that excite us, gossip about this male researcher that made a sexist comment during the last meeting, update each other on how supervising that new student works out, plan what to submit to the next conference.
And here’s my motivation for Cogtales: I want to make it a blog I would absolutely want to read during my break. It’s like a virtual version of my favorite colleague who stops by for a coffee and a chat. I know there are a lot of other potential favorite colleagues out there, and I am excited to meet them.