11 Reasons I'm Majoring in Biology

11 Reasons I'm Majoring in Biology

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." -- Carl Sagan
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Biology, in short, is the study of life. The goal of this major is to have a grasp on the diversity and functions of life forms from micro to macro organisms. If you are not sure if Biology is a good fit for you, check out this list to get a better feel for what it's like and consider how this major might fit into your future! Or, if you've already declared this as your field, you can share this with your family and friends so they can get a feel of the reasons and merits of your choice!

1. Being a biology major is challenging.

I often times spend many nights in the library in a given week. My fellow biology majors and I are typically the stressed students you will see in the library at 3 a.m. writing lab reports, studying piles of worn flashcards, drawing horrifically detailed notes for anatomy, or crying over a general chemistry or OChem textbook. Many biology courses demand a student memorize large chunks of information and it takes a lot of studying to make sure our brains actually encode what we are expected to know. If being a biology major was easy for me, I wouldn’t find it rewarding and I would not be pursuing a degree in this field. However, it is a challenge and I find it to be a very rich and adventurous one that is worth any perceived pains, turmoil, or lack of sleep. If it didn’t challenge me, it wouldn’t change me. At the end of the day, biology is the area I’d love be an expert in!

2. Biology majors are prepared for a wide variety of careers and skills.

This major allows it’s students to pursue incredibly diverse types of jobs. Are you getting a BS in Biology? You can apply for med schools, law school, or MAT programs. You can end up selling insurance, being a science writer, working in pharmaceuticals, being a teacher, a wildlife biologist, a lab tech, professor, a dental assistant, a PA, a veterinarian, and countless other jobs. It’s a wide open door into not just one path, but thousands. Who wouldn’t want to maximize their postgrad college options?

3. Being a biologist positively aids the development your character.

Those who practice science in classrooms and labs become familiar with how to be ethical in their research and experiments. Honesty is vital to being a scientist, and integrity is a must when it comes to reporting data. From doing group work and writing scientific reports, your mind is trained to give credit where it is due, take initiative, practice humility, constructively respond to criticism, and analyze objectively.

4. Biologists learn to also see failures as beginnings, not endings.

If a scientist gave up every time they failed or their research fell through, there would be not advancements in society. However since we learn that failure is an expected part of the scientific process, we learn to draw knowledge from our failures and to keep pushing forward to find new insights.

5. Understanding biology helps me live a healthier life and improve the lives of others.

There is no secret that knowledge is power. Learning about the human body’s complex systems enables me to make better decisions for my health and the health of others. It also motivates me to want to make these healthier choices, because I understand the gravity of diet, exercise, social, and drinking habits on life span and life satisfaction. I want to have a career that involves education in some way so that I may inspire future generations to take care of themselves and the planet. So whether I end up being an education staff member at the aquarium or teaching in a secondary classroom, I know I will get to make a difference in the world by teaching knowledge based on scientific facts.

6. The classes that I take are my favorite, and I love learning the material I am expected to know.

This is an obvious point. If I wasn't in love with what I get to learn about, I obviously wouldn't be doing science. I went through all of my previous grades from kindergarten to the present to be able to take the classes I want to at my University, and these courses are Biology related. My heart beats faster when I think about the beauty of DNA's double helix structure. I read books about the systems of the brain and body for fun. My passion is learning about echinoderms, sponges, cartilaginous fishes and coral reefs. Taking courses such as genetics, ecology, anatomy, marine biology, oceanography, environmental conservation, animal behavior, microbiology, and mammalogy is like a religion to me. I attend these lectures with a pep in my step, as if I'm going to receive knowledge about the divine. They help me be intrinsically motivated as a learner, which means I do these courses simply for the joy of learning. Even though I have battled some serious doubts about changing my major when I first started college, in the end, I know that being a biology major is exactly what I've always wanted to do and I'm sticking to it!

7. Nature is a major source of inspiration to me, intellectually, creatively and spiritually.

When I am walking through a forest or on a beach shore, for example, I am constantly asking myself questions, as any scientist would do. I want to understand the physical and chemical properties taking place. I ache to know about the species of animals and plants inhabiting the area. How do the biological organisms, those we can see and those we can’t, interacting with one another? How are human activities impacting it? How did this area evolve to be the way it is in the present? The more time I spend in nature, the questions I have and the more I want to understand science. Thus, I am motivated by nature to pursue a degree that gives me answers to these questions that frequently circulate and captivate my brain.

8. Biology majors get to "gross out" their friends and family.

It's no secret that many labs involve in-depth dissections, ranging from shark dissections to authentic human cadavers. These provide some interesting stories to scare friends and family. For example, one of my friends owns a pig lung in a baby food jar from a dissection. You never know what souvenirs or stories you'll gain on one given day in lecture or lab!

9. Biology is hands on.

I'm a learner that enjoys immersive and tactile experiences. Exploring on site field labs or visiting a local river for collection is always a fun and refreshing experience. It's different then only doing lecture courses and enables your textbooks to come to life. Scientists also have to do a lot of dirty work for research experiments such as swabbing door handles for microbiology lab to hiking through the woods to identify bird calls for Ornithology.

10. Biology is always all around you; you are biology.

There is never a moment or a time when biology is not relative to who you are. You yourself are biology! Understanding biology means better knowing yourself and all of the many phenomena you experience on a daily basis. Science gives an account of how and why things happen in the physical world, and knowing these things disproves many myths you might have been told by non-scientists.

11. Biology is an endless adventure!

There are constantly new developments being made in this field. A person will never know all there is to know about science or biology. What could be more exciting than always having new things to learn about for the rest of your life? What could be more challenging? Science is about being investigative, thinking critically, always asking questions, and learning for life. I don't know what's more interesting than that. Whether my future takes me underneath the waves observing corals or tagging sharks, or whether I end up in the public school system teaching biology to high schoolers, this degree is one I will always be putting to good use and that I'm incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to earn.

Happy exploring!

Cover Image Credit: ASR Marine Consultants and Research

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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The Best Decision I've Ever Made was doing Scientific Research

It opens up so many doors, and teaches you so much more about life then just what you're researching/

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Growing up, I have always been interested in science and why things happen the way they do. I've always asked why, and I've always wanted to dig deeper into some questions and topics. This is a natural part of life that many people do, and honestly more people should do throughout their lives.

Asking questions is something that can lead to change and to more answers and clarity. How? Simply through research and finding answers to these questions by ourselves.

In high school, I took a Science Research course, and I took it for three years. I researched a question I had always wondered about, which was how to predict severe weather more accurately. I was scared of it, and I wanted to find a solution to better protect/prepare myself and the people around me.

I didn't quite find the answer I was looking for or any answer for lack thereof, but I learned some incredibly valuable life skills and values. One of them being how to easily overwhelm Microsoft Excel by putting a million data points (I am not exaggerating) and trying to make into a graph.

Jokes aside, one of the bigger lessons I learned through scientific research is how to persevere through something that is tough. Meteorology is not a common interest nor is it a populated field, so getting someone to mentor me in this project was incredibly difficult and getting data for my experiment was even harder. It's kind of weird how something that impacts all of us and everything doesn't have a lot more people in the field.

Also, it's complex and there isn't a lot of uniformity to it. It's hard to find control variables and to find things that stay constant throughout because the weather is one of those things that are constantly changing. That's not fun when you're trying to run an experiment and trying to see what causes something to happen.

This ties into another lesson I've learned through scientific research, I learned how to problem solve and how to be resourceful. My experiment was difficult to run because I only had access to a few places to get data. I had to use things that gave me a million data points because I had to use things that documented every minute for an entire year.

It was a lot, and it was difficult. However, with the help of mentors and teachers, I persevered, and I learned how to make the most of the limited resources available to me. I learned how to analyze these new graphs that I've never analyzed before.

I learned how to read in between the lines and interpret things that weren't clear. It was hard, but now I can apply these skills to everything else I do in life. I learned more than what was related to my topic in science research.

Scientific research is an imperative thing to do because it teaches so much more than just your topic matter. It can teach you about life, and it gives you life skills that you will need to use in almost every other aspect of life. I know it has given them to me.

The best part about scientific research is that it can lead to a breakthrough. You can change the world by asking a question and running an experiment on an answer to that question. It's so weird that something that seems so simple (it's not that simple, but anyone can do it), can have such a profound impact.

Research can be done in anything, it can be done things that aren't heavily science-based like marketing or it can be a scientific approach to ballet. If there's a question or a gap in anything, then there is a way to find that answer. That could be running an experiment of your own.

If you have the opportunity, do research. It will change not only your life but the lives around you because it could lead to a breakthrough. That breakthrough could be something that our world needs.

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