I'm a female undergraduate student applying to graduate school in the US this year, and I am in the process of contacting potential PhD advisors to enquire about positions in their labs, the nature of their work and whatnot.
Over the past few years, I've had really painful periods. For about 2 days a month, the pain is excruciating, and I can barely concentrate on anything, and I usually just writhe on my bed until it's over.
So far, all of my research has been online due to the pandemic, so I could get away with this. But in the future, while working in person, I would like to have 2 days off every month (so 24 days a year, unless the days fall serendipitously during the weekend or public holidays) to deal with this. I have tried to find information regarding 'period leave' in academia and could not find anything relevant. Googling tells me PhD students are entitled to about 20 vacation days a year.
I am worried that this might be a potential deal-breaker for a PhD supervisor. I think I will have to mention this; I'd rather not drop this bombshell after they accept me only to find out that they are not okay with 24 holidays a year.
- Is it appropriate to bring this up with a potential PhD supervisor? I don't really know the customs in the US about talking directly about periods, and I am worried I may cross a boundary.
- If appropriate, at what stage do I bring this up?
- Is taking 24 days off a year an insurmountable problem? Is it reasonable to ask for this, or do I just have to 'suck it up' and deal with it?