• Question: Do you have any advice for people who are unsure about science?

    Asked by JCAT to Valerio, Sreejita, Sam, Kate, Anastasia, Adam on 19 Nov 2019. This question was also asked by free360gap.
    • Photo: Sreejita Ghosh

      Sreejita Ghosh answered on 19 Nov 2019:

      There are 2 things which might have led to this: 1) you are genuinely interested in non-science career options, such as lawyer or banker; 2) you feel overwhelmed by science eventhough you really like it. There is nothing wrong with the first case. There are some nice career aspects in law and banking too. However if you are unsure about science because of competition in school, peer pressure, lack of encouragement, of not having figured out what STEM careers mean then I can help you with some advice. If you like Science then work towards it. It is not always easy. But nothing is easy; it things are very easy we will lose interest in them quickly. Second, just because your classmates might be performing better than you right now does not mea you are falling behind. Compare your performance to your own performance in the past, and keep in mind the change in situations also. Ofcourse it is easy to bike with both hands on the handlebar and towards a known destination, but what if you have to bike with groceries in one hand and always have to consult the GPS for direction to a new destination? Even though the bike and the bike rider are the same situation has changed. So don’t be very harsh on yourself. It is good to be self-critical but sometimes you also need to give yourself a pat on your back.
      I myself had been through a phase when I wanted to give up on Science (due to a Dolores Umbridge of a cruel Physics teacher) picking on me every other day. At that time (I was in secondary school and it was just before my GCSE equivalent) I had decided to become a professional singer. However I realized that I love Science too much to give up because of a nightmarish teacher. If I give up she will win and my dreams in science related careers will end. So I fought back. I did get enough support from my parents for this. So I struggled on to fight my fears but in the GCSE equivalent I got 94 in Physics. I never went back to that school or saw the face of that horrible Physics teacher. The point is first you have to ask yourself whether you’d be willing to give up Science for something in the current frame of time, whether you’d let your fears win, whether you’d rather do anything else than Science… Just concentrate on what you want, subtract all the external factors such as peer pressure, what sounds “cool” and what’s “trending”, a scary teacher/ family influence. You’ll find the answer within you 🙂

    • Photo: Adam Wootton

      Adam Wootton answered on 20 Nov 2019:

      It depends on what you want to do. Do you enjoy other subjects more? Would you be happier studying something non-scientific. Would you like a career outside of the sciences? If so, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to be scientist to be a success or make a huge contribution to society.
      If you have an interest in science and wanted to look at a scientific career, but find that you’re struggling with it a bit at the moment, that’s fine too. We all have bits of science that we didn’t enjoy or where we had a teacher who we didn’t really understand. The best way to overcome this is to try to learn how to learn – you can do more by teaching yourself how to do the work in your own time. No matter where you end up working, this is a trick that will always help you! Try to reflect on what you don’t know, what you need to know and how you can best fill in those gaps. Do lots of example questions!
      Another thing that you might potentially do is try to see how science affects an area that you’re interested in. Do you like music? You could look into the Physics of the sound that musical instruments make, and why a guitar sounds like a guitar, even when it plays the same notes as a piano. You could look into the electronics systems behind modern music technology. There is a whole world of science out there to explore!