But you're so young!

Warning Rant Alert!

The PI in the lab next to ours, we'll call him Dr. X, is a bit outspoken. On the few occasions that I've spoken with him outside of a Science context generally refers to how young I'll be when I graduate, how little I know of life, and why I am in such a rush to accomplish things (meaning: go to grad school-- and graduate, and get married). While I readily concede that I am young (having just achieved the quarter century mark), I think that I am of the average age for a 3rd year in my department (I can't help that I have a late summer birthday).

This is the same professor that thinks that all people of my generation are just not involved enough in the “world.” He recalls (with not a little bit of nostalgia) the riots after the Kent State shooting, marches on Washington because of Vietnam, and the lock down of Cornell. He feels that those times really illustrated what the young can do. So, this obviously means that “my generation” is not living up to its potential.

However, this is the same prof that keeps his students in lab all hours of the day (and night). He's the one that tells Advisor when I'm not here (our labs are connected and he walks through them every so often). He's on the admissions committee and refused to admit someone who had taken time off of school to travel Europe (because he/she was out of the so-called scientific loop for too long).

Whenever he launches into these rants, I want to just let loose. Spew hot, molten crazy all over him. Tell him and people like him that are the problem. When am I supposed to March On Washington? Or Riot over Iraq? Sometime during my 50-60 hour work week? And on whose money? He, being secure in his position and more flush with money than I, would be much more suitable to all those tasks.

However, I don't. I nod and make uncomfortable noises until someone else catches his attention. There doesn't seem to be much point in pointing out these facts. Or defending myself that I do try. That I call and write my congressman/woman when an issue that I'm interested in comes up. That I try to get petitioned signed to support my candidate or issue. That I do my best to live up to my generations societal potential. Alongside all the other potential that I have as a Scientist, Friend, Wife, Daughter...