Thoughts in the 300’s of the library nonfiction section

It’s really scary to look at a mental floss magazine and feel no interest- a small repulsion, to be honest- in reading it. Years ago, in middle and high schools, I’d have snapped up that periodical and devoured it from cover to cover, delighting in all the exciting facts smeared throughout eighty pages. It was a gift to data-hungry nerds like me. Now, just like how depression renders you indifferent to things you used to enjoy, I move past the book with a heavy heart that remembers when the magazine was a friend. (This is not to say I’m depressed- I think I’m just growing up and my interests are changing.)
This happens frequently in the library now. Nearly the entire science section glares at me with its noble books urging me to memorize their insides so as to make myself into a more formidable scientist. Instead, I chalk it up to years of grueling studying for a biology degree and again move on. I rationalize that I’m allowed to want to indulge in the flowery language of cookbooks and feminist publications in my free time. However, this can’t be a good sign, to not want to savor more biology in my free time. That scares me.
The new and popular nonfiction has a little more intrigue, but mostly from the food books. Even these are decreasing in fun because food is so overrated. That seems to be a lesson in my slightly depressing postgrad life: multitudes of things once glittering with excitement are overrated. In many lights, the things I love are included in this sad idea: plants, evolution, cooking. However, in the right classes, articles, and parks, they shine with eons of mystery and relentless inspiration. I must cling to the moments that expose this fragile wonder.
How am I going to live a life that optimizes this inspiration while keeping a minimum to the BS, busy work, stress, competition, and other superficial systematics that uphold the science world?

In high school, I lost interest in reading. I think it was because I’d had to read intensely in order to finish the assignment without losing sleep (already going to bed at 10:30/11 was really hard on my sleep) and it made me bitter. Just like how deciding to pursue a past hobby and change it into a job can make one bitter, reading transformed from an enjoyable pastime into a chore. I also developed a habit of perpetually skimming everything I read. It’s a habit that frustrates me to no end when I try to soak up a Sunday NYT session and end up having read an article’s final sentence with half the emotion and knowledge I would’ve extracted before all this nonsense began. I totally blame school for these impediments. I know I can break them but, like any habit, it will be a challenge. Decreasing attention span thank to social media should also be mentioned here.

Audiobooks have helped put back literature into my life. I have hope that, after enjoying a few more, I’ll have developed the patience and courage necessary to take up a thick hardcover and savor it. Cross your fingers for me and every other milennial who deeply delights in photoshopped images of old books with vintage tea sets and a rainy setting but who can’t muster the patience to enter that world themselves.

Stressing about Potential Stress

Grad school. Two words, so very daunting.

I’m being bombarded with everyone’s opinions about it. Facts about applying, survival, and the very discouraging stats about getting a job afterwards. The long, long haul of poverty while slaving (or near to it) in the lab for 80 hours a week.

I might be able to do it. I’ve decided to do a Master’s before PhD to convince myself that I’ll have some tools before signing myself up for this necessary hell whose gates stand before becoming the PI I dream about, who researches climate change biology, botany, and evolution. In addition to those tools, maybe I can convince myself about having the ability to defeat the impending obstacles I can’t foresee.

Wow, I actually have a headache just thinking about this.

Where do I fit in the fun before this? How do I convince myself that volunteering in Europe and farming for free won’t turn off potential PI’s and facilitate the happy dissipation of college knowledge? It’d be SO different if I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Or if I wanted to pursue something that didn’t indicate grad school as a prerequisite, like writing or cooking. I love science, but I absolutely loathe the jungle gym of stress and competition that governs it like a dictatorship.