It’s the 21st Century. There are women who go to school for engineering and men who study early childhood education. While your parents, friends, and classmates all support your dream, there’s always that one professor who can’t quite wrap his head around what a nice girl like you would want with a degree in manufacturing. Having the person who evaluates you not believe in you can be a stressful, frustrating, and painful situation. Check out these tips on how to deal with an educator who doesn’t think you belong here.
Stand Your Ground
While you may be hurt that your professor believes your major is just for men, the biggest, most important tip is that you stand your ground. You chose this major because you love it. You can do anything you want. Don’t let a professor, classmate, or other individual convince you that you’re not cut out for your dream.
Speak Your Mind
You may want to try talking to the professor about his views. Perhaps he hadn’t realized his comments were hurtful, or that they were bothering you and other women. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to speak out for a professor to realize he isn’t funny.
Find a Support System
Find other women you can talk to about the situation. This might be other women who have had this professor before, or women who have jobs in predominantly male fields.
By sharing your frustrations with one another in a serious or comedic manner, you’ll feel less alone. With a group, you have the power to make an obnoxious comment become another funny story to tell the other women.
Turn Negativity Into Fuel
Some women are able to cope with these situations by turning their professor’s doubts into self-motivation. If he thinks women can’t handle this subject, show him they can with every opportunity you get. Make it your mission to prove him wrong with every test, project and presentation. Maybe you’ll actually change his views, and if not, you still learned a lot and did your best. It’s your personal growth that matters the most in the end.
Sometimes the situation is more serious than a professor’s narrow mindedness. If you feel you’re not being evaluated fairly because of your gender, if you’re not given the same opportunities as the men in your class, or if you’re being sexually harassed, you may want to speak with the department head or dean. If that sounds scary, or if you feel embarrassed, you may feel more comfortable talking to a professor you trust or a counselor on campus. They can help determine how to best go about the situation.
Remember What’s Important
Within the next few years, you will graduate and get a job in your field. Maybe you’ll get married. Maybe you’ll buy a house. You’ll take vacations, hang out with your friends, celebrate birthdays and attend concerts. Maybe you’ll have children. Once college ends, a whole new life begins, and that professor that really bugs you now, will just be a tiny speck.