Here, Here! Graduate school!
“Here, Here! Graduate school!” A stepping stone in the ladder to higher education. I find myself in the eye of the tornado, working to keep calm as I network, learn and develop. At times, I step out of the eye and I am thrown into a furry of confusion and self-doubt – Why be a conservationists? Why care to understand humans and wildlife?
It is easy to escape and read about the struggles of a young conservationists suffering to find long-term work or a paying job. And it is easy to get bogged down with the demands of being a graduate student. However, grit and passion trump it all. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, but for years. Grit is what is needed to make your future a reality. With passion, you exemplify excitement about your work and the discoveries you are making. With enough passion, you can get others to believe in the causes that you care about with little room for absorbing negative satire. Building upon these two things are key for graduate students, and what I have found to be important characteristics for myself.
In the field of conservation, money, fame and fortune are few and far between. I do not speak for all scientists, but I do what I do because I believe there are solutions. We can find solutions that work towards mitigating conflicts between humans and wildlife. We can find solutions for inclusion of differing cultures in conservation management. And we can find solutions to preserve and conserve species of conservation concern.
The next couple years as I work to exercise some control over how and what I think, I will continuously remind myself of why I do what I do. The tornado of graduate school will always be met with uncertainty, but there are also the irreplaceable moments of pure joy.
Thank you to my Human Dimensions Lab and all the people I meet as I continue along the journey of graduate school.