Thursday, February 28, 2019

Writer or biologist?

Had a delightful dinner meeting with English faculty and English majors last night.  In an environment when college advisement seems more and more oriented toward the monetary and other material possibilities of particular college majors, it was wonderful to be among students who have developed a love for reading and writing for its own sake.  Who realize that all realms of knowledge are inter-connected on some level.  We do not have to succumb to an either/or world.  I was trained initially in biology and math, but also loved to read and write.  In my teaching career, I have wandered among several subjects at the high school level - sciences, math, history, Spanish, English, art, and more - but have gravitated more and more toward English (literature and writing) while maintaining a science perspective on most things.  While I tell people I have a "natural history" blog, I do not feel constrained by subject boundaries.  I am driven by curiosity and the urge to connect with the real world in as many ways as I can.  I can sit and watch a frog for hours.  I can look at frost for hours.  It's especially fascinating to watch frost forming before my eyes, and likewise to watch it sublimating.  Most people are aware of clouds "moving in," but where do they originate?  I am still excited by the first time I became aware of clouds "forming" right before my eyes, and then disappearing as they encountered drier air.
Our students don't have to choose between writing and biology, between business and history, and so on.  They can remain committed to learning about anything that moves them.  They will get smarter and wiser, and their so-called careers will materialize out of that. If they're lucky and/or wise, they won't ever have to choose between learning and living.
A big Thank You to Moon's, a restaurant somewhere in Quincy, for hosting this event.