Why I hate missing lunch

Image via ohhappyday.com
"Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything." –  Persuasion by Jane Austen

Question: Where do I learn the most?

Answer: At lunch!

When I tell people that I am doing a PhD they more often than not picture me alone at home all day slaving away in front of my computer. While this is true for many PhD candidates it is not so for me.

I am fortunate (in my opinion) to be doing my PhD in a research unit that has a very ‘hands on’ approach with students. We each have our own desks and are treated like valued members of the unit. Life circumstances permitting—there are some days when it’s best to work at home—I come into the office every weekday to work on my research project.

My working style has always been to ‘power out’ what needs to be done in the smallest amount of time possible. If this involves me sitting at my desk for six hours straight without getting up once then so be it. From a physical health perspective this is obviously not ideal. From a social perspective it’s even worse.

A few weeks into my PhD (two years ago now) I let myself be coerced into taking a break each day to eat lunch with the other staff members and students in our unit. It was one of the best things I have ever done.

In a world where we predominantly hear men’s voices on every subject possible, there is something refreshing and enlightening about being at a table with mostly women (I’m not sure why but only one [lovely] man has chosen to work in our women’s health research unit).

We discuss anything from the latest popular television show to variety in the physical appearance of women’s labia; nothing is off limits.

My favourite conversations are those where these women share their life experience and talk about their career, family, relationships, achievements, aspirations, and much more. To me, these stories are priceless. They are worthy, influential and informative.

I learn more from listening to these women talk about their life and views on the world than I ever could from a book, movie, television show, TED talk, conference, etc.  It is for this reason that lunch time is the time I learn the most. It is for this reason that I hate missing lunch!

Everyone has a story but the stories of women are often ignored or intentionally silenced. It’s time for this to change.

Kate xx