Are our academia research minds just so trained to constantly climb our mental mountains that when achieving some success, one feels, “that was it?”, even when the past leading up to the success was absolutely brutal in terms of work load and stress and creative thinking, so that one would think the feeling would be more joyous.

Does it always just kind of feel that way? Does the rewarding feeling dissipate very quickly?

I know this could be an opinion based question but I was just wondering how people working into academia/research organisations are seen from the point of view of lay people?

Do they appreciate our dedication and choice?
Do they consider us generally smarter than them?
Are they proud of our achievements and are they considering research tougher than a normal job?

Thanks

Professors in STEM fields that I have worked with seem like very serious people. They are in a seemingly never-ending rat race to study past literature, achieve new results, publish, try to get funding, and run a lab / supervise undergrads or PhD students. It seems that they are holding back any personalities that they might have, and that showing, say, some humor might actually harm the perception of them as good scientists.

This observation alone, I think, is the dealbreaker for me, in terms of spending a lifetime in academia and chasing glory as a professor. I think the costs of becoming a prominent researcher are too great. I rather work in industry and actually be able to have a sense of humor without being perceived as “weaker”. I want to go out for beers after work at some fancy rooftop bar. I want to go to nightclubs once in awhile and dance with ladies. As an academic, I wouldn’t be able to do any of that, and life’s going to pass me by quickly, and I will soon be an aged scientist. I don’t think it’s worth it.

Is there a general agreement that professors in STEM feel suppressed?

I’m an undergraduate at a research-intensive university and I have received funding with other students to do research. The other students involved in the project are all undergraduates. I’d really like to talk to people outside of the project who do research – not necessarily to ‘network’ in a formal sense, but to share resources, discuss the progress we’ve made, etc. We have a supervisor, but I want something more like a peer. The thing is that I don’t know how to find people to talk to. I don’t know any undergraduates outside of the project who are doing research. The university has many postgraduates, but I feel like an intruder in postgraduate and academic spaces (e.g. research discussion groups, conferences).

It isn’t about age; I started my degree as a ‘mature student’ and I am old enough to be a postgraduate, but there’s obviously a hierarchy at universities in terms of how far you are in your education or academic career, and there are some physical barriers between me and postgraduates, too (e.g. they have their own spaces that only postgraduates can access). What should I do? I’m aware of the existence of undergraduate conferences, but it frustrates me that I’m at a university that is very oriented towards research yet I don’t feel able to talk to people about it!

In a few days I’ll be attending my first academic conference in Spain. I’ll be going alone and this never became apparent to me that it might be a problem until I spoke to a few people about their experiences at their first academic conferences.

The most common word that arose was ‘miserable’ – most said that it was difficult to get to know people and to keep up with the pace. While I think I’ll be okay with the pace – I’m drawing up a rough idea of which talks I want to attend and where I want to be – I’m not so sure about the communication part. As I won’t know anyone at the conference, my plan was literally to just smile and talk to random people so that I can network and make friends but I’m starting to have doubts about whether this will work – will it work?

I have a (slight) anxiety problem and my history of socialising has been terrible so what I fear most is making a fool out of myself in front of people aren’t really looking to socialise and make friends. I don’t have very comprehensive knowledge in the field since I have only completed my undergraduate degree last year although I never really saw this as a problem.

So, in a few days I’ll be attending my first academic conference in Spain. I’ll be going alone and this never became apparent to me that it might be a problem until I spoke to a few people about their experiences at their first academic conferences. The most common word that arose was ‘miserable’ – most said that it was difficult to get to know people and to keep up with the pace. While I think I’ll be okay with the pace – I’m drawing up a rough idea of which talks I want to attend and where I want to be – I’m not so sure about the communication part. As I won’t know anyone at the conference, my plan was literally to just smile and talk to random people so that I can network and make friends but I’m starting to have doubts about whether this will work – will it work?. I have a (slight) anxiety problem and my history of socialising has been terrible so what I fear most is making a fool out of myself in front of people aren’t really looking to socialise and make friends. I don’t have very comprehensive knowledge in the field since I have only completed my undergraduate degree last year although I never really saw this as a problem.