Posted by: emmacraig | April 24, 2010


I wrote a CV!  I’ve dutifully posted it off in application for the most fantabulously awesomest job there ever was and now all I can do is cross my fingers and wait.  This post is not however about the fantabulous job as I’m superstitious and I’ll only write about it after I find out if I have an interview.

This post is instead about passion because it’s something my CV really made me think about.  My covering letter was consumed by things I really like about science.  I dressed it up a bit more than that but what it all boiled down to was science is my life.  When I was writing it I didn’t quite know how I felt about that because for a long time science was a ball and chain on my ankle.  In the same way they say getting married kills the passion studying for my degree seemed to have left me screaming for a divorce.

Sidenote: Lovely potential employers who may have been directed here via my CV and are now thinking all that loving science stuff was a lie let’s not hire her, please please read on.  It’d be nice to give me a job too but all I’m saying is finish the post and judge me then! I do love science really!

It was all good in the early days.  I’d come home from school all excited from what I’d learnt and eager to pass it on to whoever was listening be it parents, brother, cat…even my dolls.  I got sensible presents for birthdays like junior chemistry kits and microscopes and lost interest in them when I realised you couldn’t blow anything up and what I saw down a microscope was scary.  No child with a phobia of worms wants to learn that there are miniature wormy looking things slithering about that you can’t even normally see.  I’d ‘borrow’ litmus paper from school so I could test the pH of things and I’d try to do chromatography using kitchen towel.  The world was my oyster and what a wonderful world it was.  The world was practically buzzing with intrigue and explanations.

Even at A level I’d spend the occasional free period looking at things on slides or doing a bit of extra reading.  I quickly exhausted the science section at our local library and had to start requesting books from other areas of the county.  So where did it all go wrong?

I think my main problem is that I’m stubborn.  I decided I didn’t like my degree before I started it.  Gradually as months turned into years I got more and more frustrated as we learnt more and more about boring pernickety things like the concentration gradients of maternal mRNAs in Drsophila instead of what I saw as being the interesting things like why we’ve not come up for a cure for HIV or how cancer can start off in one organ and travel to another.  I wanted to know more about the genetic abnormalities and what caused them, more about DNA repair and far far less about flies and signalling cascades.  Sadly the more I learnt about flies and cascades and PCR the less I loved my degree and thus the less I loved science.

Thankfully I was assigned an ethics paper for my Honours project.  I was full of excitement.  No science!!!  I could bask in being spiritual and not bogged down in complicated pathways and experiments I didn’t understand.  Then once I started the more I did the more I hated it.  I began using excuses to sneak science in.  I have paragraphs that seem totally out of place because I’ve gone off on a loving tangent about medical conditions and the genetics behind them.  Only a tenuous connection exists to justify its inclusion but it was science and deep down I still loved it and craved it.  Ethics was the affair which ultimately saved our marriage.  So this weekend I challenge anyone who feels like the exams have killed their subject love to have a think about how it started and rediscover a little of that passion.

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