Hi! My name is Samantha and I'm currently a junior in high school. I want to pursue marine biology in college, do you have any tips for classes I should take senior year? I'm thinking ap biology and ap environmental, any other suggestions? Thank you so much!
They’re good courses but I’m not so familiar with the subject choices you have in the US.
I encourage you (and all of you with similar questions) to approach your Universities of choice and ask their admissions departments for input. And make use of your careers department at school of you have one.
There’s no harm in asking for advice - and it can show initiative and a proactive attitude. Just make sure you ask well thought out and specific questions. Don’t assume anyone has the time to write you a lengthy overview, especially if they are things you can look up yourself.
Hello :) I was thinking of doing a double degree in writing and marine sciences in university. However, I'm rather worried about the workload. I assume, that as a science course, it'll have many time consuming projects and assignments. If that is so, will it be too much to do writing as a second degree as well?
I’m assuming that writing has a substantial amount of work too, and there’s a reason double degrees aren’t common.
However I can’t be the one to answer this question for you. Only you know how much work you can handle, how much dedication you are willing to put in, how much you’re willing to sacrifice your time for this.
You might want to check out the course content for both degrees, talk to the University and get as much information as you can to be able to answer the above.
It’s amazing what some people can achieve when they put their minds to it, but there are other amazing parts to life at Uni too. No shame in either, it’s about making an informed decision.
“Did you know, you can quit your job, you can leave university? You aren’t legally required to have a degree, it’s a social pressure and expectation, not the law, and no one is holding a gun to your head. You can sell your house, you can give up your apartment, you can even sell your vehicle, and your things that are mostly unnecessary. You can see the world on a minimum wage salary, despite the persisting myth, you do not need a high paying job. You can leave your friends (if they’re true friends they’ll forgive you, and you’ll still be friends) and make new ones on the road. You can leave your family. You can depart from your hometown, your country, your culture, and everything you know. You can sacrifice. You can give up your $5.00 a cup morning coffee, you can give up air conditioning, frequent consumption of new products. You can give up eating out at restaurants and prepare affordable meals at home, and eat the leftovers too, instead of throwing them away. You can give up cable TV, Internet even. This list is endless. You can sacrifice climbing up in the hierarchy of careers. You can buck tradition and others’ expectations of you. You can triumph over your fears, by conquering your mind. You can take risks. And most of all, you can travel. You just don’t want it enough. You want a degree or a well-paying job or to stay in your comfort zone more. This is fine, if it’s what your heart desires most, but please don’t envy me and tell me you can’t travel. You’re not in a famine, in a desert, in a third world country, with five malnourished children to feed. You probably live in a first world country. You have a roof over your head, and food on your plate. You probably own luxuries like a cellphone and a computer. You can afford the $3.00 a night guest houses of India, the $0.10 fresh baked breakfasts of Morocco, because if you can afford to live in a first world country, you can certainly afford to travel in third world countries, you can probably even afford to travel in a first world country. So please say to me, “I want to travel, but other things are more important to me and I’m putting them first”, not, “I’m dying to travel, but I can’t”, because I have yet to have someone say they can’t, who truly can’t. You can, however, only live once, and for me, the enrichment of the soul that comes from seeing the world is worth more than a degree that could bring me in a bigger paycheck, or material wealth, or pleasing society. Of course, you must choose for yourself, follow your heart’s truest desires, but know that you can travel, you’re only making excuses for why you can’t. And if it makes any difference, I have never met anyone who has quit their job, left school, given up their life at home, to see the world, and regretted it. None. Only people who have grown old and regretted never traveling, who have regretted focusing too much on money and superficial success, who have realized too late that there is so much more to living than this.”—Wunderkammer: Did You Know (via sucked)
Hello. I am applying to go on a sort of summer camp internship for the Shedd aquarium. I would be preparing for about a week before the trip, and then I would spend a week on a boat, assisting actual marine biologists. After that, I would spend a couple days learning about other things. I was wondering if you had any tips for the application? It's for teenagers, and I'm the youngest possible age. I've done stuff with the Shedd before and one of the high edu staff knows me by name. Thanks!
No matter your age, you would want to show how you stand above other applicants. Previous work with the aquarium is a big plus, highlight that, and close contacts can always be asked to put a good word in.
Generally, show them your positive traits, rather than spell it out. I.e.” I am a passionate individual” … any one can write that, but if you prove it with all the extra curricular work that you’ve done, it’s much harder to contest.
Hi! I love your blog:) I was wondering whether you would enable to help me with a biology question I can't quite figure out. Here it is: imagine you have to identify whether sharks in 3 different areas are part of the same population that moves during the year or are 3 separate populations. Identify how you might solve this problem. I would really appreciate a response. Have a great day:)
Genetic studies. Is this a homework question? That’s totally cheating! And you’d be making the ridiculous assumption that I’m always right.
hello! i know you get asked all for advice all the time, so i apologize if it gets annoying, but i have a question too. were there any classes you took, or wish you had taken, that maybe weren't actually requirements for graduation, but it turned out that it was/would have been good too take them? (example, i have a wildlife biologist friend that wishes she'd had time to take a soil sciences class because it would have been relevant even though not actually required for her major)
Statistics. Though, I’m going to be honest, there’s no way 18 year old me would have taken it even if I told her it would save her so much trouble. She’s pretty stubborn.
Hi! I know you get asked these kind of questions all the time, so I'm sorry! But, do you think it is possible to have a BS in environmental studies with a concentration in ecology (also possibly with a 2nd major in political science if I can handle it) and then go on to a graduate program in marine bio? I love marine bio (specifically sharks & conservation) but I would enjoy working with any & all animals (on land or in the water) so I feel like env studies would give me more options? Thanks!!!!
Don’t apologise. Don’t stop asking questions.
I studied in the UK so I’m not so familiar with the system of majors and minors, but I struggle to think why environmental studies wouldn’t set you up to specialise in marine biology. However, I’m definitely not the person to ask. That would be the admissions team of the graduate programme. It’s likely that they’ll have a list of entry requirements.
My only (rhetorical) question is, if you already know what you love doing the most, why do you want more, but less satisfying, options?
hi, i really want to do something with animals whether it is marine biology or wildlife biology or veterinary school. However, I am worried that I won't find a good job, I've had a lot of people telling me that there aren't many good jobs in the biology field, so I was wondering if you could give me some inspiration on the types of jobs that I could get with those degrees.
I never heard anyone say “there are no jobs for Vets”, the others… well it depends. You can really do so much with a biology degree. You may want to work as a scientist, or an environmental consultant, or for environmental government departments. There are plenty of NGOs out there that need passionate people with lots of different skills.
You might want to take the skills you learn into an entirely different sector. Many of the technical skills you learn in a science degree are still applicable in other industries - ‘transferable skills’.
I suggest looking at the job search websites. This will give you an idea of the scale of employment out there and the requirements for each of those job.
It has long been said that it is a fine line between love and hate. When you feel passionate about someone or something it has the capacity to lift you up and bring you down, so so down.
So I sit here, in El Nido, on Valentines Day, and I declare that I have a love/hate relationship with my job. But to be honest I think this is pretty standard for everyone. It does not mean I ever want to quit or change careers. It just means that sometimes, I hate it. However, the scales are well and truly tipped in the favour of Love. The hate lasts mere moments. To mean, this balance is job satisfaction, and I have oodles of it.
Conservation is not glamorous work (previous ZEPs will tell you that never has anyone sweated so much as us in our Green Fins shirts), and there isn’t a continous cycle of feeling rewarded for the good you hope you are doing. The corporate world will still look down on you for the hippie-tree fish-hugging work that you do. The economy doesn’t value the worth of your industry (or you wouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail to get funding). People will refuse to listen to science and logic for the long-term benefit of their business, and you know, their planet. You will cry, more than once. You will throw your hands up and ‘give up’ more than once. You will question your choices, your commitment, your passion, yourself. These are just some of those ‘hate’ moments I was talking about.
There will be many, they will be harsh and they will completely pale in comparison to those ‘love’ moments. Here are some of the moments of the past year that have swept me off my feet:
1) Moalboal Dive Guide Seminar
Anyone who follows this blog would have seen my blog post on this and known that I came out of that event on a serious professional high. It was amazing to get the public and private sectors in the same room in the first place. It was magic to hear them voice their concerns, normally directed at third parties, to each other. To see bridges mended, explanations given. To see tempers flare and die down with understanding. And the not only see, but be part of, a change in attitude towards each other. Whether it lasts and is built upon only time will tell, but regardless, it was a special afternoon.
2. Unexpected beach clean up outreach
After Sharon’s highly successful beach and reef clean up we were all hanging around waiting for the elusive dump truck to collect our spoils. Two young Moalboalano girls started hanging around our group. The fact that the ZEPs attrack attention from the local communities is no surprise and we tried to offer them some of the snacks we had for the clean-up participants. The girls took the snacks but refused to eat them, mumbling something in Cebuano that I (shamefully) couldn’t understand. After a few minutes of hopeless encouragement for them to start eating, they pointed at the bags of rubbish. I tried to explain what we had been doing and they nodded in understanding and asked for a bag. They wanted to help to earn their snacks! I took them to the beach and they ran around checking if each piece of rubbish was the correct thing to take. “Ate Sam! Ate Sam! What about this? What about this“. They weren’t our target audience for the clean up, but it just goes to show how a public event can reach out so much further than you intended.
3. Training National Government Partners to be Green Fins coordinators
Last October, JJ and I headed to Manila to start a significant step forward in the management of Green Fins Philippines. We held a training workshop with staff from the project’s national management team, the Coastal and Marine Management Office (recently known as Coastal and Marine Division) to train them to be Green Fins coordinators. CMD has been a wonderful and supportive partner of the Green Fins project, even folding it into the national management strategy for coral reef ecosystem management (SCREMP). I was able to part of building the capacity of the team to manage the project! That I could ‘play’ at this level with these players was a privilege and extremely affirming of my professional capabilities. On top of all of that, I had my first bubble bath in years at the hotel. It’s also about the little things.
4. ADEX 2013
After my own ZEP and before I started my role as Programmes Officer, I was the Principal Investigator for LAMAVE’s whale shark research project in Oslob, Cebu. We were (they still are) investigating the effects of the controversial feeding practice on the sharks. Because of this role, I was invited to speak at the Asia Dive Expo (ADEX), whose theme for 2013 was whale sharks. ADEX is my happy place (so. many. stickers) and it has long been a point on my bucket list to speak there. I have had to do public speaking my entire professional career, but it had been a long time since I’d been nervous about it. No one tells you that living your dreams can be terrifying. But fears were conquered, words were spoken, applause was given and satisfaction was had. The networking I was able to do there was incredible. I met so many wonderful people, and several science/conservation heroes of mine *blush*. This year’s theme is coral reefs. Diving + coral reefs = Green Fins so I’m going back to ADEX for my second fix!
5. CITES 2013
This wasn’t an event I was directly involved in, but I appreciated it as a huge step forward for marine conservation, shark conservation in particular. We were at an inception meeting with representatives from UNEP, IUCN and the Maldivian and Vietnamese national partners for Green Fins. It was an intense few days that saw me frantically taking minutes for the first time in my life. Definitely job satisfaction in hindsight. The meeting was during the 16th CITES Convention of Parties and several elasmobranch species were up for protection after several highly successful public campaigns and years of hard work from elasmobranch scientists and conservationists. On every break I was scrolling through the live commentary from attendees on Twitter, and every (it ended up being all) successful listings brought on skipped heartbeats. Marine conservation issues are largely overlooked by these big international conventions and it felt like an exciting insight into the future.
6. Birthday 2013
I spent my birthday on a glorious day off in Aninuan, diving our favourite spot with JJ, Wai and Meg (ex-ZEPs and Reef-World interns; we missed you Chloe!). I made some time for my hammock and having drinks on the beach under the most incredible blanket of stars (before falling asleep like the party people that we are). I was in a beautiful (warm) place, with some of my favourite people doing some of my favourite things. Moments like this continually affirm my life choices, and my pursuit of this line of work, despite those ‘hate moments’ and the other struggles that come hand-in-hand.
2014 has already proved incredible rewarding for the whole team, and it’s only set up to get better. The ocean may not have been my first love, but it is, and always will be, my last.
How hard is it to become an underwater photographer? Or what classes would one take in university?
Can you take it at Uni? It’s more of a practical skills kind of job and very competitive. It’s only a hobby for me. I luckily had a ‘mentor’ - a friend who had learnt from other divers who shared some tips. Basically I bought the equipment and am still learning through trial and error!