I’ve always been awed by science and scientists, thinking they have unusually large brains that hold lots of important information I’ll never understand. I remember little about science from school.
In middle school we lived in Pennsylvania so part of one semester was spent on hunting safety (we even went to a range and shot clay pigeons, which are not even shaped like pigeons), learning about the animals the hunters would kill, etc. From this I walked away knowing why the female birds are always the boring looking ones (because they sit on the nest protecting the eggs and need the camouflage) and the male birds are the pretty ones, to draw the eye and possible predator away from the nest. Another semester we studied ecosystems, like ponds and streams, which we had both of on the campus of the high and middle schools. I know what duckweed is and it’s not what you think. We also had to keep an outdoor journal. I forget how often, but we had to find a spot outside and return to it probably several times a week. Measure the grass, note any animals, insects, changes etc. It was during the spring. I enjoyed that; probably why I still enjoy being outside in the spring, finding a bird’s nest hidden in our bushes, seeing new life emerge.
High school science was pretty useless to me; biology, chemistry and physics. I did enjoy the formulas, it was like being in the know of some secret language, but I’ve forgotten it all. I liked mixing things in chemistry and looking at things under the microscope. I did not like dissecting, and therefore I did not, instead I volunteered to draw what the killers (a.k.a. other students) had dissected. In college I took the bare minimum requirements for science as a freshman. This was before I realized only freshmen were stupid enough to actually take 8 a.m. classes so I was faced with dissecting a sheep’s eyeball at 8 a.m. I skipped that class and several more like it; hence my B in college science. I liked studying animals, genetics, environments etc. I even took geology in college, don’t ask why, it was the same year, I think, in which I took Jewish studies and considered becoming Jewish.
Before I started college I had two very different careers in mind (well, different from what I do now anyway) and actually began in the college of science. I wanted to be an obstetrician so I could deliver babies or a cytotechnologist (they study human cells under a microscope). I bet none of you realized either of those huh? I’m sure the cytology thing came from something I read or did in school because I’d never have thought of that on my own. Fear prevented me from following either path, fear of blood, math, the “world of science” which seemed so distant and out of my intellectual reach.
I looked up science, such a basic word, in the dictionary: The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.
I guess when you put it that way it’s not really that far off from a journalist.