I have been thinking of doing this post for a while. Tonight, a conversation with a fellow tumblr-er reminded me to finally do it.
What got you in to science? There has to be a story behind it! I have exactly 660 followers at the moment. You wouldn’t have followed a science blog unless you liked science in some way. Each of you, please, tell me, why do you like science?
For me, I simply cannot remember a time in which dinosaurs were notnpart of my life. I find this to be a beautiful thing. Dinosaurs are as fundamental to my life as air and water, light and dark. I cannot imagine life without them; perhaps they are part of my definition of living, somehow. Dinosaurs always have been there in my life, and I know with confidence that they always will be. Perhaps, on some psychological level, there is some comfort to be found in that. Maybe, I don’t know.
How I got into dinosaurs? Now, this is a trickier question. As I clearly have no memory of my baby or toddler years, and eyewitness accounts all provide evidence that I showed a strong attraction for dinosaurs from the start, I can’t definitively state the reason. The best I’ve got for a possible stimulus is actually my sister, two years old at the time I was born. At that point The Land Before Time was a brand new film, and my sister was apparently obsessed with it. Photographic evidence of an early birthday of hers (2nd or 3rd birthday?) even shows a generic dinosaur cake. This may have exposed me the subject of dinosaurs in general at an early age. My sister quickly left dinosaurs for horses, dolls, and pink things. For whatever reason, I never did. The Land Before Time, Jurassic Park, all these things came and went, and still, there I was, obsessed with dinosaurs as they were.
Of course, like any adventurous boy, that wasn’t all. I also loved any and all reptiles (alligators, monitor lizards, and snakes were my favorites), and insects of any and all kinds. I would sit and watch ants (the tiny, common and relatively uninteresting Tapinoma sessile, the Odorous House Ant) for hours. Sharks also fascinated me to no end. My scientific interests were already strongly directed towards the animals. (But as a side note, I did love my rocks, oh how I loved rocks!)
As I grew older, my interest in these topics did not diminish, rather it grew. When I had just turned 15, I rediscovered the documentary The Great Dinosaur Hunt, at this point a dusty VHS that I vaguely remembered from my childhood. I had watched it the year before as well, after finishing Reading Between the Bones by Susan Clinton (a book aimed at younger readers about the history of dinosaur paleontology, one that largely caused me to shift from using the word “bone” and instead say “fossil”). I watched it one afternoon after school. The next day, I had the enormous desire to watch it again, something I never, ever do, even to this day. It quickly became my favorite film of all time, as it remains even now.
The thought came to me, If I love this so much, if all of it looks like so much fun, the work, the long hours, the dust, the rocks, the desert, the excavation process, if I am fascinated by even the slightest glimpse into the lives of these ancient animals, then why not think about it seriously, as a career? It was not long before my mind was made up: I wanted to be a paleontologist. (Perhaps this next part is more a story for another day due to how personal it is, but for the next couple of years I met with stiff resistance to my decision.)
As you see, my decision has not changed. I am a biology major today because my life’s goal is still to study the dinosaurs, as well as other fossil animals. I will not back down from this, no matter what or who tries to stop me (you’d actually be surprised at the roadblocks those who choose research careers run into in their personal lives). No comments about how poor I will be or how being a med student would be superior in every way have or will sway me.
So this is me, now. A college student trying to juggle a demanding day job, constant night classes, weekend museum work, and a personal life all at once. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Now, as to the other sciences, anything from physics to astronomy, from ornithology to just about anything else, that was a later development. Admittedly, some of these interests I myself have cultivated. It was never with regret, mind you, but whereas with things like dinosaurs they called to me, they pulled me in, whereas with something such as, astronomy, I didn’t have any childhood exposure to such things, so I decided to learn more about it on my own (the natural fascination came afterwards, upon gaining more information for my mind to begin to grasp). As an adult now, I can see the benefit of learning about all realms of science, and it is the truth when I say that any and all real science fascinates me to no end; hence, this blog!
So, that’s how I got into science. This before you is a deeply personal story that I rarely share with anyone. However, I trust my readers with it, as you can trust me with yours. So, how about you? How did you get into science?
Reblog this with your own story!
I think it’s time to run this again. I’d honestly love to hear! I now have 1,868 followers. I know there are a lot more of you out there to tell your stories this time.
Reblog, and let’s hear it!