sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
[personal profile] jesse_the_k asked: Is there a childhood goal/ambition/undertaking you're still interested in doing?

Or if not, how do you feel about setting out goals/ambitions/undertakings?


Goals make me nervous and I avoid them unless absolutely necessary.

I asked for an easier question, and she said "How did you decide to become a scientist?"

In junior high, my two favorite subjects were biology and English, which is still basically true, although now I would replace English with "social justice" or media studies, which were not school courses back then. I've gotten less interested in science for science's sake, but I'm glad to do it for my job, and I'm glad to have a job that is just my job, which I don't take home. I like having hobbies and interests that are distinct from my paid work. I'm more of a small-s scientist, and that is fine with me. I have a lot of interests and I don't want my job to consume my whole life.

I like biology because I love nature, and I have a suitably analytical and equivocal mind. I went with biology because it seemed like the work would be more secure than a creative field. I also had an idea that research might be a way to leave the world better than I found it, so to speak. I went with epidemiology because I am good at, and like, seeing the big picture and connections between things.

As a kid I wanted to be a (published, fiction) writer, and it took me until my 20s to give that up. Once I met fiction writers at conventions, and got a handle on the reality of the profession, I realized I didn't fit in with them. I fit in with fan fic writers, and this is where I belong. I actually have published a couple of non-fiction essays and one scientific article, so there's that. I like blogging, writing fan fic, etc, more, because it involves hanging out with other people. I like collaborative work and being around others, sharing in the creation and enjoyment of the work. Anyways, it was actually a big relief to give up that goal! Which is part of why I distrust goals.

I'm a generalist, and as such, I did well in school up until graduate school-- because graduate school encourages hyper-specialization and single-mindedness. I wasn't happy in grad school. I'm pretty happy with the type of work I do because it has a fair amount of variety to it.

I remember thinking that it would be great to be a "Steerswoman" from the Rosemary Kerstein books: a true generalist, who explores, makes maps, collects information and stories, does experiments, and is widely respected by her people. I'm maybe a bit too shy for that job (Rowan has to do some very brave things!), but maybe I could be part of a two-person team and that would make it easier.

Date: 2014-01-16 02:01 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: harbor seal's head with caption "seal of approval" (Approval)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
You and Bel would make a great team!

Date: 2014-01-16 09:49 pm (UTC)
rhivolution: David Tennant does the Thinker (Default)
From: [personal profile] rhivolution
I wish I could make a living as a Steerswoman, omg. Awesome role for a cultural studies geek.

Date: 2014-01-17 02:28 pm (UTC)
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)
From: [personal profile] bibliofile
So glad that Jesse asked this question, because your answer's pretty interesting. I might have guessed at bits (e.g., fanfiction), but it's cool to learn all this in one place.

Date: 2014-01-18 01:17 pm (UTC)
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (Default)
From: [personal profile] sophinisba
I really enjoyed reading this post. I have similar feelings about school and wanting to be a generalist, though in the humanities instead of science. :)

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