I have been really busy the last several weeks working on writing my dissertation and preparing to teach an Introduction to Ecology course. All the time spent staring at my computer has me daydreaming about all the hours I have spent doing field work over the course of my PhD. I flipped through some half finished blog posts and journal entries form that period, and found the start of the story I’m about to tell you. I was instantly transported back to that day, which was memorable but also pretty representative of how most of my field days went. Some of this is certainly Type II Fun.
Sometime in August of 2016…
I wake up before the sun has inched its way above the horizon, and fumble to turn off my alarm as quickly as possible. At the foot of the bed, my dog whines softly. My husband, Daniel, turns over and away from me in his sleep. In my non-field season life, I often hit the snooze button. I know it’s not good for my brain, or whatever, but I don’t care. I love it. During the field season, my alarm is set so uncomfortably early most days, 4:00 am or maybe 4:30, that snoozing seems masochistic. Also, it’s a little rude to the sleeping partner and pup. Besides, when you’re racing the tides, time is always of the essence. So, instead of rolling over for five more minutes of sleep, I roll out of bed and try to land on my feet. The cat judges me from Daniel’s pillow.
We are so excited to be back on the STS blogging train and are grateful to have so much support and enthusiasm from everyone that checked out our posts or various social media pages. To keep the momentum going, we want to bring back an ancient (like 5 years, y’all) type of post we both had on our personal blogs before combining forces. We will be compiling cool videos, articles, pictures, etc. covering multiple disciplines and posting them on the last Thursday of every month. We will post many of these as we find them on our Twitter or Tumblr pages, so check us out there if you don’t want to wait. Whenever we find something that makes our day, we’ll save it so we can make yours too.
Last year, maybe October, I was listening to an episode of the She Explores Podcast. The guest spoke about the role of social media in her work in a way that really struck me. The analogy was basically this: social media is a window into our lives, and we control the size of that window. People want to peek in, but if you make the window too big, you might make folks uncomfortable. If we make the window too small, it may fail to serve our purposes. I’ve been walking around with this tidbit in my shoe for months. How big is my window? Have I made it too big for online platforms I strive to keep more professional (Twitter, Tumblr, this blog)?
Then, last week, two Twitter hashtags caught on pretty much simultaneously. #DressLikeAWoman was born in response to an anonymous leak claiming Donald Trump likes female staff “to dress like women.” (Whatever that even means.) #ActualLivingScientist was started by Dr. David Steen, reportedly in response to a 2011surveyreporting 66% of Americans can’t name a single living scientist. Obviously, I adore both these things. First, I love it when the ladies of Twitter clap back, but when lady scientists join the fray, I get extra pumped. Second, I love how folks in the #ActualLivingScientist feed distilled their work down to a single tweet. It’s good practice for learning how to communicate our ideas outside of our own community.
Yesterday, it clicked. The coupling of these ideas represent why this blog is so important to me. If I ever made my window too big, or the only reason I even made a window, was so folks would know what it was like to be a scientist. But more than that, Meridith and I wanted people to see what it was like to be young, to be in graduate school, to be a woman, to be from the south, to be frustrated, to be uncertain, to succeed. I’ve always said that Sweet Tea, Science was a science lifestyle blog. I stand by that now more than ever. We are actual living scientists, and these are our lives.