The Road Not Taken

::Beware: A couple of bad words in here (thought maybe I’d start adding a disclaimer)::

Considering that in my last post I mentioned that I don’t like to talk about science or anything of the sort on in my blog because blogging acts as my escape …. I thought it would be fitting to talk a bit about science and conservation on my blog, go figure!

On a recent trip to the National Marine Aquarium (check out the site, a wicked awesome place) we had a nice talk about some of the goals of the aquarium.  Being that this was an interactive session, we as a class were asked a question … “What is conservation?”  Surely being part of the “Conservation and Biodiversity MsC” we would have no problem answering that question, but I really had to think about how I wanted to say it.  Right then and there I realized… that was the first time I had ever really thought about what conservation was.  The answer to me became quite clear “Trying to fix everything on the planet that we’ve fucked up” (I said this much more eloquently when i raised my hand to answer).

That’s really what it is though isn’t it?  We over fish our oceans, now we want (well, some of us want) to help conserve our fish stocks.  We hunt Rhinos (some to extinction), and now we must do all we can to preserve what’s left.  Climate change, most likely, is happening largely due to humans and all of the crap we do to the earth … now it’s becoming a focal point of conservation, with  endless resources being employed to mitigate the effects (it’s not looking pretty).

I started to think … why did I decide to go down this road?  Going back to 2008, just five years ago, I was in the middle of my undergrad dead-set on becoming a doctor.

I pass the mic to my main man Robert Frost:

              The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

I could have taken the road that led to money, settling down somewhere, a nice house, and a car.  Instead, I chose the road less traveled by.  The one that some people would say leads to being overworked and underpaid.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything!  I get to work with some of the most amazing animals in existence, and I have met some of the most incredibly unique and intelligent people this world has to offer.  What I lack as far as dollars in my pocket I make up for in unforgettable experiences and working towards goals that help the entire world.  I get to stimulate my mind with science everyday (not always as glamorous as it sounds!) and the the things we have learned from research I have done or helped out with are things that nobody EVER knew before.

ImageHow could I ever do anything that doesn't let me come face to face with all kinds of things???
Like this adorable Grey Seal!!  Thanks to Sarah Nelms for the pic!

Furthering our knowledge of the world, coming up with ways to help conserve it, meeting unforgettable people along the way, being in touch with the world I live in, feeling a sense of happiness and meaningfulness in life … I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference


About mdnichol87

Marine Biologist studying towards a Master's in Conservation and Biodiversity at the University of Exeter.
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