9 Struggles Every Woman Studying Biology Faces

They had me at “The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,” and now I’m two and a half years deep into a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. While the field of biology is wildly fascinating and constantly growing, earning a degree has some obstacles of its own. With two more years plus graduate school ahead of me, I know I haven’t seen it all, but here are few things my female peers and I have had to deal with.

1.Wearing rubber gloves over rings.

Anybody who has ripped a pair of gloves trying to pull them over your rings please raise your hand.

2. Planning your outfits around days you have to be in the lab.

Oh, it’s 60 degrees outside for the first time in months? You want to wear that cute new dress you just bought, and those sandals you got for your birthday? Too bad, it’s lab day. Better find some jeans and close-toed shoes, or shamelessly pull on a pair of sweatpants under your dress.

3. Hiding the odd satisfaction you get from drawing benzene rings.

Okay, I can’t be the only person who has at least a little fun drawing organic molecules. It’s like doodling and doing your homework at the same time. It makes the brain-crushing torture that is organic chemistry almost bearable.

4. When your mascara-coated eyelashes make looking into a microscope difficult.

You lean in closer to the eyepiece to get a better view and then the mascara flakes and gets in your eye. You can’t rub it because you probably have some questionable substances on your hands, so you stand there blinking like crazy and trying not to cry. You can never win.

5. Becoming emotionally attached to the zebra fish embryos.

Hey, they’re kinda cute.

6. If you’re pre-med: being jealous of your friends who are excited to graduate.

For most students, senior year means finding a job and moving on into the real world (not that it’s easy). However, for the brave souls planning to attend med school, senior year means endless prepping for the MCAT, filling out applications (again), and bracing yourself for another landslide of student debt. Oh, don’t forget about four more years of sleepless nights, drowning in textbooks. Stay strong, collegiettes.

7. Learning about how hormones work and still not forgiving our uterus for 4+ days of torture every month.

I’m talking about you, prostaglandin.

8. When your goggles mess up your hair.

The laboratories that have the goggles that sit on your ears like glasses – instead of the ones with a strap that leaves an awkward dent in your hair - are what we live for.

9. Sometimes forgetting that your effort and perseverance will pay off one day.

Whether you’re going to be a doctor, a scientist, a nurse, a professor, or whatever else biology gives you the power to be… remember why you’re doing this, and think of the impact you and your hard work will have on the future.

These are just a few struggles that I’ve dealt with, and I can only imagine what I’m going to run into later on, but in the end, it will all be worthwhile.