My favourite is when people pronounce both “et” and “al.” phonetically. How endearing.
After much administrative drama, I’m finally starting the master’s program I wanted to do! Hum, hum, let me introduce you to the M.Sc. in Behaviour, Evolution and Conservation of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland!
This program takes place within the Department of Ecology and Evolution of the School of Biology. So far, it appears to be a mysteriously biological place (read: with lots of machines and freezers and shit), where most people don’t get why a psych major might want to come. “Fool”, some say. “WHY” others ponder.
When faced with their reaction, I give them my usual speech. No, I am not scared to have trouble understanding – most of our courses don’t have prerequisites. Yes, I have knowledge of things like population biology and evolution because I don’t limit my learning to what is taught in a degree. Also, I know more about behaviour than anyone else in my class. I’ll continue to study it for my thesis, AND I haven’t had to suffer through physics and biochemistry classes.
All in all, I’m pretty great.
I’ll stop here before I start sounding waaay too narcissistic and full of myself (although I think it’s sometimes good to feel like that).
Although I am lucky enough to have found my professional “true calling”, in the past few weeks – nay, months – I had seemingly forgot the feeling of it. As a child, I fell in love with nature, science, and orcas. Mostly orcas. This passion has driven me to study behaviour to maybe one day become a “real” scientist. But I had forgot the thrill and chills this part of me used to give me.
Last weekend, though, I experienced something wonderful that reignited my passion: I was caught in a rainstorm.
I live in an area where the sky is more often cloudy than clear, but this doesn’t correlate with the frequency of storms. So when they happen, I revert to my past self – I go outside to hear, see and smell the storm then quickly get back inside and tuck myself in bed in the company of a Harry Potter book.
But this time I was outside walking my dogs. We were having fun when, suddenly, the light drizzle became rain, then downpour, then torrential downpour (if such a classification even exists), and then… hail kicked in, though it wasn’t cold at all. By that time, all three of us were running—trotting—walking—running-again-because-man-there’s-not-a-nanometer-of-us-that’s-dry—trotting our way back home. Yet feeling the water strike you and “wash” you at the same time was indescribable, in a good way.
To be honest, I would have stayed outside until the end if it wasn’t for my poor dogs. Oh the excitement I felt! The exhilaration! It was as if I was teleported to an actual rainforest. I almost heard the calls of howler monkeys, glimpsed spider monkeys jumping from branch to branch, saw a deer fleeing the scene, perched turkey vultures and a multitude of smaller birds. And the reason I was running? To escape a pack of hungry velociraptors. Because why not.
I felt alive, truly energised. It’s not just a temporary effect, either. Now more than ever, I am driven to accomplish whatever needs to be to attain my goals.
I guess the moral of the story is: when in doubt, find the nearest rainstorm and bask in its watery awesomeness.
A little announcement for ethology fans/nerds out there:
The next online conference ethology Investigates will take place from the 15th to the 17th of April, focusing this year on “the behavior of invasive species and their impact on the host environment.”
Check out their website for information on how to register and participate in the discussion.
PS: Boy, I’m just content spamming today, aren’t I?
Lately, I came across some other interesting links, so I thought I’d share them here 🙂
>> Test your patterns of unconscious thought (biases) = http://www.the-twist-project.eu/en/iat/intro/?embed
>> ’10 tips when asking for a letter of recommendation’ by Chris Buddle
>> Super sweet article about octopi; the recounting of an octopus-human meeting, especially, truly makes you realise how alien, intelligent, and cute they are (I think I’m in love <3) = http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6474
>> A biologist’s tumblr, or “A compendium of knowledge gleaned from seemingly endless scholarly pursuits in the wild.” His series of “Things I learned as a field biologist” is very funny!
>> Biodiversity + Trading card game + Crowdsourcing = PURE COOLNESS, and it’s called Phylo.
>> CROWDFUNDING FOR SCIENCE RESEARCH !!! = microryza.com is like a KickStarter for scientific projects.
This Is What A Scientist Looks Like = Check out this cool blog!