Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's been awhile...

Those are the three (four, technically) words that I've found myself repeating over the years when trying to start my own blog. I'm easily distracted, you see, and now with school -- i'm loaded down with homework, exam reviews, and all that other stuff that comes with school. (I need to learn how to code to indent -- it's bugging me!)

In the past two months, I've been working really, really hard learning about what it's going to take to become a functional scientist (notice that I didn't say good or great). In fact, I think about it a lot while I'm working on my homework or reviewing a concept or struggling with ideas. Science has always been, in some ways, both a sweet retreat and a kryptonite to me. I love it, really, like I love nothing else that isn't a human or animal. I love the idea of working together - of solving problems, of taking things apart and putting them back together again in a better way - in discovery, wonder and awe of our great world that we have only inklings of how things work. It's COOL.

I grew up very lucky that my mother fought for me: she knew I was gifted from the beginning. She recorded me on 8-track (don't laugh, i'm old! :) ) singing songs I made up, then recorded me on videotape acting in plays i made up, and took me, repeatedly, to the science center at the Ruben H. Fleet Space Center in San Diego's Balboa Park. I'm not sure if it's still called that, but that place was one of my fondest and earliest memories of falling in love with science.

My mother was married at 15 and had to get a hall-pass to leave campus to get married. She did not finish the 10th grade. And yet, it was she who always pushed me, who engendered in me a love of nature, science, words, music, movies, cooking, arts and almost everything else that I love. My earliest memories, too, were of feeling safe and happy at the library, sitting in the big ole baseball mitt shaped chairs, or the weird 70s hand-chairs. So many life-events happened at the library or at the park behind the library where I would have birthday parties, or we'd gather as a family. And TMI, I got my first period in the library, of all places. ha. It was always my mother who was my greatest supporter, and sometimes my greatest nemesis as I grew up, but she was the one who fought the school district to take me out of a nearly-failing school, where I and a boy named Leo, were they only two students to be pulled out of class for a GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) class, and put me into a program at the local science-magnet school.

In other words, I owe everything I am and am doing today to my mother.  She's done a lot for herself, too, in these past 30 some odd years, too, and I cheer for her every day, too, just as she cheers for me.

So, while I struggle with science right now, I've always, always known I'd end up on this path somehow. That comforts me when I feel like I suck, or when I can't memorize and regurgitate facts for an exam or get low marks on something. I remember that it isn't the grades, really, but the passion I have for all of this. Someday the grades, the exams and the official education will end: but the craving to know more, to learn more, thanks to my mom, will never end. And that is what will make me a good scientist - and maybe even a great one if i work hard enough at it. I will be a functional scientist, technically, but it's the human element - the love, the support, the passion - that we all need to be great scientists.

P.S. Don't think I'm forgetting my wonderful partner of nearly 18 years, either. He's directly responsible for helping me get to this point - and someday I'll repay him. :)

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