the other job i wanted to do was be a marine biologist. this was a big dream of mine. i loved the ocean. i thought the perfect job would be working at sea life park, taking care of the dolphins and the fish, researching, teaching, learning…the life!

it started in 12th grade. although i was recommended to take ap physics, i was curious about marine biology. i had been going to the beach a lot with my friends, and i just loved the smell of the ocean, and how alive i felt out there. i would swear that i must’ve been some sort of mermaid in my past life, because i felt so tied to the ocean, which was funny, because i cannot swim to save my life. but something would call to me, and since i was already taking 2 ap courses my senior year, i decided to forgo ap physics, and take marine biology. i loved it! it really helped me understand the power and awesomeness of the ocean.

in college, i thought i’d go into marine biology. unfortunately, it was offered only as a master’s program. so i decided to take one of the entry level courses, oceanography. while interesting, it didn’t engage me as much as the biology portion did. all those waves and stuff (which is what i guess i missed by not taking ap physics!) just didn’t seem to pull me in as much as marine biology did. i mean, it’s all important stuff to remember–the big picture and all–but still. i didn’t find it too appealing.

so i decided to try computer science, since i had done fairly well in that in high school, even being selected to go to a programming meet. but i was discouraged from entering by the t.a.s. “not for females,” i was told. “you’ll never get a job.”

bah. worse advice i ever got.

by my sophomore year, i had heard of the marine options program. it was like a certification program, instead of an actual degree, but it was one i could get into without having a bachelor’s. so i applied for it, and took the courses, and that was a lot of fun. we did a lot of field study out on coconut island. i loved it because i could concentrate on the area i wanted to, even though i still had to take another oceanography class. but there was a lot of lab work that i really liked. i so could’ve been a scientist.

after graduating with my bachelor’s, i was in limbo for a while. i had a two good jobs on campus, but i had to be a student to have them, but i just didn’t have the money for graduate school. i spent a semester unclassified, as i took all sorts of entry-level courses into graduate programs–one for marine biology (zoology), one for linguistics (this was my favorite!), one for english, and one for philosophy. i just really did not know what i wanted to do. i would’ve loved to be a marine biologist, but a linguist was also very intriguing. i also still wished i could do something with computers, as i was always interested in that. but then i was steered by one of the professors i was working for to go into teaching, which was what i thought i’d be when i was younger. i was very confused, and probably made the wrong choice. it makes me wonder exactly how different life would’ve turned out if i had made a different choice.

i think i would’ve at least been happier and less stressed.


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