Before I begin this predictable harangue on the pathetic state of perception and education in our society, let me warn you that this will not be a 3-Idiots kind of ‘Follow your dreams’ lecture.
I personally am not concerned about whether you follow your dreams,heart , mind or any other physiological phenomenon or organ in your body. It’s your life and your choice.
But if you’ve heard any (or all) of these following dialogues before, you probably are a Biologist or One in the making. If not, then you’re probably the One saying these things.
Soooo let’s begin ,shall we?
And a three.
Are you studying Biology? BSc!!? Oh. I thought you were smart.
Name one person who has not said this to you. Everyone, ranging from your neighbors to to your aunt’s colleague’s dog’s previous owners grandmother has told you this at least once in your life.
It is sad that people don’t think of Biology of a subject as edifying as say, Physics or even Maths. Okay, so maybe Biologists are not deriving the Equation of Light. Nor are they inventing Wi-Fi. Or Instagram.
But they’re slogging their heads off and straining their eyes (If you use a microscope on a regular basis, you know what I mean ) trying to find ways to make the world a more habitable place. (Yes. That’s right. Trees need to be saved because Oxygen is currently trending as well. Where, do you ask. In your mitochondria.)
2. So, what do you do in a Biotech Lab? Clone animals?
Guilty as charged. Believe it or not , this is one of the first questions I asked a teacher after stepping into the Lab in college. “Where are all the cloning apparatus” I thought to myself as the Staff showed us through fancy looking instruments like the “Laminar Air Flow Chamber” and the”Autoclave”.Sadly we had to wait four semesters for an answer.
But yes,we do clone stuff. We do it at a smaller scale in college but scientists out there are using this technique in their research to achieve unbelievable things. Therapeutic Drugs, Chemicals, Insulin, you name it and it is being cloned into micro-organisms for large scale market production. Mind boggling? Well, I guess, Hollywood was right after all.
3. Biology is just mugging up right?
Wrong. Scoring well in Biology does not depend on how good you are at rote learning. Believe it or not, Life Science as a whole, requires a very practical oriented approach if you intend on succeeding. Sometimes you will have learn stuff by heart like which Bacteria has which gene and the chemical composition of DNA. But these are vital facts that need to always be there at the back of your mind because they will form the basis of any kind of research that you do in the future.
(It’s not as easy as that. Hence, we learn :P)
So just like how Physicists need to know Newton’s Laws, Mathematicians need to know a gazillion formulae, Lawyers need to know the Constitution and Engineers need to know Code, Biologists too need certain facts entrenched in their heads . But that does not mean that’s the only way we learn. You cannot learn the cure for cancer by heart, can you?
4. BSc Biology is not as hard as a BTech or an MBBS degree.
Most of my classmates have been victims of derisive smirks and rolled eyes (Urmm creepy.) when they say that they’re busy because of all the ‘college work’ they have to do. “What college work? You’re in BSc. Your life is chilled.”
I’ll tell you who’s got the toughest job in the world? The ladies who come in blue jackets every morning and clean off the rubbish that the educated Scientists, Engineers, Doctors and Teachers leave on the road. I do not think it is right to compare a person’s job by the kind of degree they have. Being an Engineer or a Doctor does not give anyone the license to believe that every other profession is below their level.
I wholeheartedly agree that we need Engineers to make the fancy gadgets we live with, we need doctors to cure us when we are sick, we need Musicians to make the things we listen to , we need Accountants to manage the finances of people and companies and similarly we need Biologists too to study nature and translate that into Environmental and Medical Solutions.
EVERY job is important for society to function. As long as you’re not a criminal of any sort, nobody should make you feel like your degree is worthless.
5. Biology has no scope.
True story. If you compare the wages an average Biologist makes in comparison to an Engineer of the same age and equal experience, the pay disparity will be more than half. It is the fact of the matter and it cannot be denied.
But one day, when a person we love or someone we know is diagnosed (God forbid) of a disease or condition which has no cure, we will surely wish that Biology had more scope. That would have brought more people from schools into labs and would have resulted in more cures in the market than diseases.
But sigh, nobody thinks that way. So until we do, it pains me to say that people are right. Biology has no scope.
6. B for Biology. B for Boring.
*Gasp* What did you just say?
W for Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrooooong.
Biology is one of the most fascinating subjects on earth and it’s applications are limitless. Look at this picture of the DNA, for instance.
DNA is this teeny tiny little double stranded thread like structure that is present in each and every cell of your body. It’s what helps us transfer genetic data from one generation to the next. It is essential for life across all species , kingdoms and organisms.
Can you believe, that is 2.2 m of strands that are found in almost all the 3 trillion cells of your body are now being used to make hard drives? No joke. So not only can DNA retain your secrets and those of your ancestors but you can also use it to store 5.5 million bits of information including audio files and text documents. Moreover , they can be stored in this pristine condition for ( Hold your breath) upto a million years. Talk about lifetime warranty.
And these are the kind of things we learn every single day in Biology. How on earth can this possibly be BORING?
7. Studying Biology makes people atheists.
For some people, maybe yes. But if you’re someone that goes on regular hikes or treks outside the boundaries of the city, you will know what spiritual experience one goes through while studying nature.
Can you imagine the kind of powerful invisible force that is at play every second of our lives? This force is creating, repairing and breaking DNA in your body as you speak. This force is making buds blossom and tadpoles metamorphose. It’s helping birds sing and monkeys swing. Its creating armies out of leukocytes and graveyards in your blood.It’s orchestrating the rise and the fall of the ocean tides and the rhythm of the cocks crow. It’s directing the way insects see and the way fishes breathe.
Biology is art. It involves studying the paintings on the canvases made my Someone much above us. It’s hard to not believe in God when you spend more than half your life investigating his portfolio .