To all those that are below

R.D. Boucher
3 min readApr 24, 2023


I want to be acknowledged

for My work,

My time,

My energy

spent into ensuring

that your data is Good

I want to feel seen,

and heard

for the effort

I put into the research

I love so dear

I want to feel supported and

empowered by the women around me,

instead of being chastised,

and demeaned by perceptions

that they are above and

I am below,

because I am a student

I am lower class

when We all

are learning from each other,

and working together

for the goal of good science

but it’s rigged against us

This university system,

in its bones, and

what they preach

claims we aren’t alone

but we all know

Their only interest is their own

Much like corporations

emphasizing quantity

rather than quality

pushing research

to be selfish and biased

because we cannot all be equals

when we have the same goals

There has to be a power dynamic

to make us less bold

an authority figure

to maintain control

Why should we question

A system that’s build for us

When it implicitly wants

To exploit our trust

In false senses of security

that we are safe

from intellectual robbery

We are placated,

Our grievances unfiled,

Research ethics ignored,

’Cause tenure makes them stay here,

and why burn bridges

when you’ll work together til you’re old

on the backs of graduate students

that will only graduate knowing

that it is rigged against us

that our status as students

is temporary,

so, we are not protected

as they like to claim

in all the publicity

they use to stake their claim

on your mind and your time,

and all you do with their insignia

on your lab coat and your slides,

No, we are not safe

from being defamed

It’s their word against ours

and they get to stay forever

So why should their colleagues complain

when their student will graduate anyway

Someday, they say

But here we all still are

Fighting to finish

in spite of it all,

and United we stand,

against the system

that claims it’s our friend,

because why shouldn’t we fight

to have power in our intellectual right

why shouldn’t we stand up

for our part in developing

your research plan or

included as a co-author

in a publication in which we executed

your data management plan

So countless hours of lab work

Go unrecognized, because as graduate students,

a university paycheck disqualifies us from co-authorship

and don’t worry, they’ll say

you’ll have plenty of publications when you finish next May

and you’ll be just fine, although,

we know inside that the job market calls for double

what we gave you credit for,

you have to reap what you sow, and

I would rather take credit

than have to acknowledge the work

of someone below,

that did what I didn’t want to on my own

And why should I

when the system tells me I have no obligation to make it known

that I would rather rely on my students,

and in spite of promises, I always know,

that attribution can be what I want it to be,

and the system is rigged against them

Just as it was rigged against me

and they’re going to have to learn

This is how it’s got to be,

because it’s never about producing good research

or making friends in this place

It’s only about satisfying my superiors,

and showing that I am worth keeping safe,

So who cares if they go unacknowledged,

or that they did the research,

it was my idea, my brain all along,

they have plenty of years to get to where I am,

and I don’t care to try to tell them or make them understand,

because the institution is on my side

No matter how much they fight,

I know it’s always my word

Before theirs at the end of the night

and I can continue as I like

No matter how many drop out

Or finish in a fit of fright,

I will always know that I’m right.

I will never get more than a slap on the wrist

from the institution that I defend

Still, I wonder why,

when I go home, I am alone in the end

Still, I don’t regret

that I pursued this career instead,

I am recognized and they never have to know

It was built on all those that lie below.



R.D. Boucher

Dami grew up in Hillside, NJ and attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. She is currently working on her PhD in Santa Cruz, CA.