In a nutshell, nothing much happened in the last two weeks. Sure, life, also known as our awesome Professor Pete, had been aiming knowledge bullets at us while we try to balance every other aspect of the program. I am going to be very, very honest; this is not an easy program. If you are looking for a semester full of beaches, cruises and tasty colorful drinks, you should look somewhere else. This semester is in a block format, where one course is taught every month with two labs per week (lab reports, my nemesis), along with your independent project, a field course that involve boat and pier sampling and analysis. Oh! Don’t forget about the final at the end of the month that is 40% of your grade.
Science is hardcore. When you watch CSI, the DNA analysis takes 10 minutes and everything is wrapped in a cute little one-hour episode, in the real world, it took me almost two weeks to simply extract all the DNA samples, another week to measure how much DNA matter is in the samples, and I have just started working on calibrating the machine for measuring specific bacterial DNA in the samples. Behind every page of the paper you read in any journal, there is a team of scientists working deep into the nights, staring into tiny swimming plankton, their veins pumped with intense passion for their work and caffeine.
But if science is your passion, you will feel so very at home. First, Bigelow is voted recently as one of the best places to work in Maine; every time you pass by the hallway, there will always be a friendly smile. You are surrounded by some of the brightest minds in marine science, and they all want to be your friend. You are making friends with a powerful army of pure intellectual energy, think of the good (or evil, if you are planning to be a super villian) you could do!
Very few things in life come easy anyway; behind every profession there are struggles. When I was young I was very involved in Cantonese Opera, a classical Chinese performance art. Under the bright mercury light, we were all adorned with glitter and colors, dancing and singing and acting out beautiful love stories from the old times. Off the stage, we worked for hours to perfect our art, our clothes stained with tears and sweat. I still remember how we would practice the tiny floating steps by pacing 50 circles around the room (50 more if we forgot to bring something); how our masters will keep on telling us that “It doesn’t hurt! It doesn’t hurt!” while stretching our legs as far apart as possible; the fear I felt when I need to jump from tables while doing a split onto the cold, hard floor. I loved every moment of it, and I am fond of every scar I earned. I will walk down the corridors of my school thinking about the lyrics, and I would sing in my sleep. I used to go around the world to promote this dying art form with my friends.
Applause from the audience is worth every drop of blood and sweat
If you have the same passion for marine science, this program is perfect.
When I was studying in India, I figured out that I want to devote my life to help children with every fiber of my body. My friends and I would go to the slums every week to teach English despite obstacles, we would teach sciences and do experiments together, to show the kids that the tiny words in the worn out books are not just words, but real life around us. I was so moved when the same girl who hit me in the beginning of the year threw a tantrum when I missed going there for a week. I still carry around the bracelet that my student made for me. We were so insignificant as a small group, but we loved what we did, and we believed in what we did. I carry the same passion and walk towards the path to become a doctor and researcher, to find cures, maybe from the deepest secrets of the ocean; to help children who feel like they are forgotten. I am not the brightest student, and I cannot even begin to tell you how organic chemistry has consumed my soul, but that does not mean that I won’t try.
If you have the same passion for research, then this semester is perfect for you.
Look at Pakistan’s Malala Yousufzai, a little girl who fought to defend her right to be go to school, even if it meant that she need to face powers so much stronger and darker than herself, even if she had to take a bullet. “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education. And I am afraid of no one.” I am sure we could power through a few sleepless nights. (http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/15/world/malala-profile/index.html)
We are so lucky to be able to have all these chances to live the life we dream. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, because every drop of sweat blossoms to a whole new world, a world of light.
It is going to be Diwali soon! Happy Diwali! दिवाली की शुभकामनाएं!