My response to the article published in Science on Oct 29.2020

Updated: Mar 1

"My colleagues treat me badly. I wish I could tell my Ph.D. adviser"


This is a powerful piece and made me think of all unacceptable and normalized behaviors in academia. The trauma people endure to achieve a degree; I have a collection of these "suck it up", "rise to the occasion" moments of mine. I feel for this writer, truly. I wish to tell my younger self, and her, this is not OK. We might feel like we have to endure this kind of abuse because we want to be nice, we don't want to look sensitive or we just want to keep our peace with our mentor or colleagues. In the end it is not worth it. No degree is important than self respect & our mental health. We should be led by facts, data and open to discussion as scientists, but this does not mean or equal to having a meanness competition or taking advantage of one another. If something doesn't feel OK, then it is probably not. No one need to endure meanness or malice. Abuse, name calling or intellectual bullying are not OK. In academia or anywhere. They should be confronted. If people are not aware that their functioning is toxic or abusive, it is our job to make them aware, place healthy boundaries to protect our mental health and wellbeing by advocating for ourselves. The system is not going to change itself, unless we change it.


Kumsal

October 29,2020

New York


Image credit: Wix images


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