I haven’t posted in a while. I have been incredibly busy with work and school and family-but that is not the topic of this post. I recently made a tough decision. I have decided to go a different direction in my educational career, a choice that will ultimately change my entire life.
I have always been the creative type – one of my favorite pictures is one of around age 2 taking a photo of my mom in front of our house. It was a little Brownie camera but I loved it. Just recently mu husband and I were trying to re-organize our home office and we came upon box after box after freakin’ box of photo albums…all mine. Seems that I just couldn’t stop taking pictures and even today I am teased for always having a camera somewhere on my person.
In addition to photos, I love to read and to write. I have been winning awards for creative writing since elementary school and I don’t say that to brag. I simply have a love of story telling and when I get ideas I have to stop and write, whether on the backs of bev’ naps, brochures, receipts, etc. I know a lot of people think I’m just a little strange.
What makes things stranger is that I think in “video” when I hear music. For example, when I hear a song, my mind puts together a video in my head, even if I have never seen an actual video on TV for that song (which is often the case since I haven’t had cable in nearly 5 years and I refuse to buy one of those new TV’s when my nice practically new on plays all my DVD’s just as well.
So here it goes.
As a young girl, the child of two civil engineers, the granddaughter of a high school administrator, marine [spy], and an English professor with a double doctorate in psychology and English, it was naturally expected that I would do well. And in many cases I did. I was accepted into many of the advanced programs offered, went to camp and was an avid Girl Scout for years.
The one thing that I was never encouraged to really try in was science, despite a very early love of dinosaurs and history. For whatever reason, science, ecology, biology, chemistry – all seemed the domain of the young boys and I knew not to question it.
When I finally made it to college I really enjoyed the PR and Journalism program at the Grady School of Communications at UGA. I learned so much and really had the chance to develop my writing and persuasion skills and felt confident heading out into the world.
I only had four interviews before getting hired, by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. A job I continue to hold, and one I love….know why? Because it opened my eyes, Everyday I learn more and more – how could I have missed this stuff in school? The subtle yet complex interactions between species, habitats, air and water quality….I was absolutely in shock that these things are not mandatory for all young people going through school. How can we ever expect to “save the planet” if we don’t understand the planet in the first place??
I began to really read and tag along in the field as much as possible. As a public affairs specialist it was up to me to convince people that our programs and projects are important and worthy of funds. I thought to myself, how can I do that if I don’t “get it” my self?
Now two years into what I hope will be a long career, I have seen up close a mom and calf North Atlantic right whale (less than 350 left in the world), held a federally threatened bog turtle and the leathery egg of a loggerhead sea turtle, as well as learn to measure the wingspan of an American Oystercatcher and help attach a radio transmitter to the back of a marbled godwit. I have stood a few feet away from 40 foot flames while assisting with a nearly 2000 acre prescribed burn. I have photographed bats and marveled at the thinness of their wings, swamped for bog restoration and banded geese at night.
I don’t say these things to brag, not at all, but to show that I have seen more of this state in my two years with DNR than in my nearly 27 years of living here. I am astounded that ever school child doesn’t learn about the most wonderful thing about our planet in more depth, the natural world.
So here is the change. Although I love grad school and the program I was undertaking – an MA in environmental non-profits, I have decided to switch programs to an MS in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, with a certificate in the non-profit program, one in Environmental Ethics and another in Native Plants. I know the course-load is harder, but I just feel like being an ecologist will finally fill some void…some innate sense to seek out what I do not know. I am an addict…to learning. And I am hoping that by completing this program, I will finally figure out where I belong.
Wish me luck!! (and if you have ever made a huge life change, I’d love to hear about it!!)