Don’t Drop The Science!

Tomorrow (Thursday the sixteenth of August for those of you who are reading this another day… say, tomorrow), A whole age group in the United Kingdom with shudder with both anticipation and nerves. That’s right, it’s A level results day, the time of year where Brits aged 16-18 get their university prospects shoved in their face like an apple in a roast boar’s mouth. I went through this affair two years ago, and I know that if I could be myself at that age again, I’d do things differently, I’d be more confident about my choices, I’d stand up proudly and tell the world that I’m going to be taking science! And here are a couple of reasons you should consider taking science too.

1) And now for the cool stuff

A lot of what is covered in the earlier years of science education is basic, there’s a lot of coverage of basic ideas and only a couple of subjects are in depth enough for you to really appreciate how beautiful and complex the universe is. Take biology for instance; you’d be forgiven for thinking, with a basic science education, that biology was just the study of food chains and the skeleton (well, you’d not be forgiven, but it wouldn’t be entirely your fault that you only paid attention in two classes), but once you get into the university level   everything gets a whole lot more interesting, complicated, and all round awesome. I, for example, learned a hell of a lot about speciation this year that I drank up like poison-laced kool aid at a heaven’s gate cult meeting, and studying the evolution of plants and animals was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever had the opportunity to do.

I know, I’m a huge bloody nerd. Bite me.

2) Hands-On

For those of you whose excitement levels in high school science peaked when they brought the woodlice in for you to look at, there’s a lot more waiting at the other end. We got taken to the chemistry lab to make our own aspirin this year, although that paled in comparison to the various animal skeletons and the horseshoe crab floating around my university, and while there is still a lot of theory involved, universities generally do a lot more to get you involved in actually ‘doing science’. Get into the lab, the forest, the wherever, go out and do some science!

3) The people

You may have similar interests from the get-go. I met a surprising number of skeptics considering that I’m a university with so many faith-based societies that there’s a whole Christian union made up from about seven different societies (it’s like voltron, but with more crucifixes). And when the subject of something like, say, creationism comes up, you’ll find that reason will be a much more acceptable answer to a crowd already invested in science. Also, don’t be surprised if your lecturer backs you up on something like that.

4) Go against the grain

I find that a huge problem with the way high school dynamics work is that often science is looked down upon by (especially the most popular) social groups, at least in my experience. I personally thought that if I took science I’d lose out on possibly getting where I wanted to in music (an anxiety brought on by how much colleges insisted that university would take over my life, thanks for nothing society). You can still have your friends and do the subject you enjoy, you can still follow your vocations and do the subjects you enjoy, and as important as universities are to a lot of people’s lives, if you put the things you enjoy aside, you’ll only miss a big part of what makes you happy.

Science is awesome, interesting, and doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice anything except for going onto a different university course. Don’t feel pressured away from it, but don’t feel pressured into it either, I just hope that I can grab some of the people who, like me, almost made the wrong decision. Take care and good luck!

[image credits: shutterstock]

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Cat Strickson

Cat Strickson

Cat, or Elly, or Eddy, or whatever name they're going by these days, is a British palaeontologist and fantasy author. It's a pretty awesome skill set, but it doesn't pay much right now. They enjoy science, history, vidyagames and all things SFF.

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