Posted by: LucidMystery | January 7, 2009

Must Be Accompanied By Stellar Dreaming

The beauty of five more years of school is that I have five more years to figure out what I really want to do with my life. My standard answer right now to the big question of what I want to do when I graduate is “Find a way to get paid to be outside and study animals all day.” That pretty much sums it up, but it’s missing key elements. Whatever I do needs to mean something. And no, it doesn’t have to make me famous or crazy rich, but it has to contribute something to the world. When I was in high school, I used to go with a friend and her family to stay at this beach house in Delaware. The house belonged to a another family from my friend’s church, and the owners let virtually anyone stay there free of charge provided that the visitors did something to improve the house during their stay. Well, to follow with that logic: this isn’t my planet, so shouldn’t I try to improve it somehow for the Owner?

Since I have to get up early in the morning and really should be sleeping right now, naturally I’m wide awake and thinking up possibilities for some years down the road. Some are more serious than others, but they all sound like fun if nothing else!

  • What if I were kind of like the girl version of Bill Nye? Or, maybe more like a combination of Bill Nye, National Geographic, and Steve Irwin (but without the death by sting ray part)? Meaning, what if I had my own kids tv show that pretty much revolved around zoology? But I would want it to go above the average kids Saturday morning “hi-kidddies-this-is-a-platypus” kind of thing. If you want kids to learn something, you can’t put a limit on them. Back in my day camps, I had a ten year old who told me his favorite animal was a thylacine (look it up; I had to) and a five year old who could give my the scientific names of the wooly mammoth and the mastadon! Now granted, both these kids were pretty smart, but if you don’t tell a kid something is too hard for them, half the time they won’t realize it is. Hardly any shows even for adults ever take on the more abstract issues of animal ecology, and not because it’s boring by any means! It might just take a little extra creativity to present in an aestethically pleasing/non-text book way. But even if we stick to the more traditional formatting, I’ve gotten away with being amusing while telling people about animals for the past eight years in zoos, I think I could pull it off. Hmm, that sounded mild to moderately braggy; I should clarify that half of the reason I’m amusing is that the dorkiness/geekiness is hard to hide when I get excited.


  • What if I were somehow able to combine my bio background with some form of missionary work? I definitely want to reach people, but I don’t have a theological education by any means. Maybe I could somehow help out with people who are unreached because of the areas they live in, like harsh or polluted environments. For example, tons of smaller Asian villages have poor water because they don’t know how to filter out the toxins in their ground water (underneath a good chunk of Asia, the deep ground water is contaminated by naturally occuring arsenic). Bioremediation isn’t my forte, but it’s a thought!


  • On the other hand, there is a whole other demographic that might be more likely to take what I have to say seriously than they might an actual missionary, if only because I might better understand what is holding them back. If I make it out of this process with a PhD, that will put me on equal footing with those who often don’t listen to anyone unless there is enough evidence to fill an issue of Nature. Now granted, I don’t like believing anything without proper proof either, but I feel like God has given us plenty! Maybe I can help other scientists see that. So I guess this option doesn’t give me a whole lot of direction, so I could still really be doing anything. Maybe in this category is where I’ll stick my rogue Indiana-Jones-go-off-on-daring-scientific-quests concept. I don’t really know what that means, but it sounds cool!


  • Ok, I know my education really isn’t gearing me for this direction, but I still think it would be awesome! Have you ever heard of rehabilitation programs that use horses or dolphins to reach people with physical or mental disabilities? I really am a huge advocate of that kind of therepy! One of my not-so-feasible-but-I-really-wish-it-would-work ideas would be to have some sort of an animal sanctuary that operated with the help of volunteers who had some sort of disability. Of course, there would be plenty of actual keepers around, but I’ve seen so many kids with different disorders like Down’s syndrome or Aspbergers’ just come alive when in the presence of animals, or even if they know they have done something that will help their favorite animal. A boy in one of my groups last summer was autistic (relatively high functioning, though still had some troubles every now and then), but he really got a boost from what he did to raise money for mountain gorillas! He was so excited about it! I don’t know, maybe it’s a wacky idea. But think of all the benefits for the person with a disability: they would be participating in something meaningful, learning new skills, taking on responsibilities (with the assistance of a case worker or some sort of staff member, of course), and getting to work with animals! And then of course, from the zoological perspective, so many animals need homes: retired circus performers, confiscated exotic pets, strays, injured animals unable to return to the wild, etc, etc. If it could work, it would be great all around!


  • I could always just be a professor. Teach during the school year, operate research projects with students during the summer. It would work, it could be fun. But I wouldn’t want to be restricted to a class room for so much of the time.


  • Park naturalist. So this would be a fall back. It would be fun, and I’m sure I could do it. There just doesn’t seem to be much adventure to it.


You know, I think I quoted this song about a year ago, but I’ll quote it again. I just need to “embrace the mystery of all I can be”  😉

But could I be Bill Nye? Those are some nerdy aeronautics mechanical engineering shoes to fill! I’ll stick with my bio.

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