Being in Academia from a Non-Academic Family


A great blog shared from Saudi! Thanks Saudi!

Here is an interesting excerpt:

As the years went on, though, things got more and more awkward. My parents didn’t understand “what was taking so long?” (I did a MS and PhD in seven years), or why I’d chosen a career where I’d be making “peanuts” (my dad’s words when I told him the average salary of an assistant professor). They didn’t understand, no matter how many times I told them, that I didn’t have summers off. They had no idea why I was stressed out, or that I worked, at times, for 70+ hours a week (this was not a problem when I had comparable work weeks at retail and food service jobs). They didn’t understand my research, or why it mattered, and often cracked jokes that made me feel like an egghead. They didn’t understand about the stresses of qualifying exams, or publishing papers. “You’ll do fine, you always do, you’re smart!” they’d say, not realizing that it felt like a dismissal of all the hard work I was putting in, and that the job market is uncertain even with stellar qualifications. The only reason I walked at graduation was because, unlike my defense, my regalia was a symbol they could understand.


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