Ph.D. Pet Peeves: A Place to Vent


For this post, I decided to do something different. Instead of doing the usual post about a serious topic, I wanted to lighten the mood. As graduate students and post docs, we all work long, hard hours. Our personalities tend to skew towards introversion, yet we must often work with, or at least near others. This can be frustrating, because, PEOPLE can be frustrating! Inevitably, pet peeves develop. For this post, I went around interviewing a handful of my peers, asking them what their lab pet peeves were.

As a disclaimer, I’d like to add that the pet peeves posted here are all in good fun. The graduate students and post-docs that contributed to this list realize that these complaints are a bit over-dramatic. We realize that we are all humans with different personalities and communication styles and we all find different things frustrating. Furthermore, a research lab is a place where mistakes happen and we are all just trying to “figure it out” in this game called life. Regardless, it is sometimes humorous to poke fun at our petty frustrations and blatantly point them out.

Here, I’ve created a space where we can anonymously vent, unite, and hopefully laugh at ourselves and our idiosyncrasies! Feel free to add your own and keep the conversation going in the comments!

Frustrated Girl

  • You need well plates for your latest experiment that you started setting up yesterday. You go to reach for the box and….nooooooo!! It’s empty!! Someone took THE LAST WELL PLATE and “forgot” to inform anyone so that more could have been ordered ….Sigh. You pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and make the journey down the hall to beg other labs to share some of their supplies.
  • I HATE IT when pipette tips are taken OUT OF ORDER! They should be taken from left-to-right, bottom-to-top, one-by-one! When I see a pipette tip box that is disorderly it gets to me! Confession: sometimes I rearrange the box to my liking before using it!
  • General public annoyance: “Wait, so like, you’re still in college?” Absolutely not! Grad school is hard! I don’t party at all! And, no. I DIDN’T choose to go to grad school because I couldn’t find a “real job”.
  • Annoyance #1 with students: constant emailing in the evening and on the weekend. And then forwarding their original email when I haven’t responded in only 12 hours. I have a freaking life, dude! Being your TA is NOT a 24/7 job!!!
  • To all the students that leave materials out overnight that needs to be frozen or refrigerated…..DON’T DO IT!!!
  • Constant interruptions by other students, especially if it is something you have already answered in the past and something that they should have written down in their notebooks! Also, when those people expect you to drop what you are doing and help them right away. 
  • When you tell people you are studying biomedical engineering and they look at you like you have five heads and say, “Wow…you must be really smart!”, or they say, “That’s too smart for me, I can’t understand it.” Saying that shuts the conversation down. I may actually be able to explain it in a way that you can understand! Side note: these interactions contribute to imposter syndrome, in my opinion. 
  • When you take a long time to craft the perfect email to an important professor and you get a one word response. 
  • “So….when are you graduating?” This is an unspoken pet peeve of all graduate students slaving away, hoping that one day, they will be considered worthy enough to be granted their Ph.D. This question may also lead to increased feelings of imposter syndrome.
  • Poor communication with advisors. It takes time and patience to learn how to communicate effectively with your advisor, both through email and face-to-face conversations.
  • Not putting $#*T away where it belongs. I don’t like people who don’t have good manners. Just put stuff back where you found it!
  • Lying and dishonesty. Catching people in a lie, especially about science, is the worst! One example: please tell me when you broke something or you lost it. I wouldn’t be mad if you just told me in the first place, because then I can fix it! And if I can’t fix it, then why am I here?
  • When it is 7 PM and someone who hasn’t shown up for weeks runs into you as you are packing up and says “Are you leaving already?” Already?! That is not your concern.
  • When people move or touch my stuff and move it when my name is on it. IT IS MINE! DON’T MOVE IT. Don’t even stare at it!
  • And lastly, as my friend from Italy would say: NWeird Green Guyew Jersey.

So, if you are someone who is guilty of some of these things, take a moment next time to think how your actions really get under some peoples’ skin. Yes, this post is all in good fun and some of these things are really not a big deal, but at the end of the day, it is our idiosyncrasies that make us the fun, quirky scientists that we all are!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>