Finding Your Passion

In 2008, I made a decision that has greatly influenced the path I have since taken and where I find myself now. Although I did just as well, if not better, in my science-based classes as in my arts-based ones, I chose to pursue a degree in Liberal Arts at a small institution that offered very few science or math courses. I spent my days reading classic literature, writing papers, and learning how to think critically about any topic that crossed my path. When Christmas rolled around, and I reflected on my first semester as an undergraduate, I only had one problem: my favourite course was Science, Technology and Society.

Finding Your Passion | kathleenhelen

Because of my interest in the courses, I continued taking classes in Science and Technology Studies (STS), prompting me to declare it as a double major alongside English Literature. Now, STS is not the equivalent of a science degree. It’s the study of how culture and politics affect the study of science, and how they have affected the study of science throughout history. When I graduated in 2012, however, I was feeling very confused about the future I should pursue and thought that I had perhaps decided wrongly four years previously when I chose arts over science. I, therefore, enrolled in a Bachelor of Science degree to see if that was an avenue I wanted to pursue.

It took me two years to admit that the actual study and doing of science was not really for me and figure out what was. It wasn’t that I didn’t do well in my science courses. I actually spent a lot less time studying and doing homework than I had during my liberal arts degree and received similar grades. But I felt so unbelievably stifled by the nature of the work. I missed critically analysing things. I missed writing. I missed being creative.

I remember a particular assignment during that time that involved reading a short excerpt from a scientific journal article and re-writing the content for a few different audiences, including young children. I remember this assignment because it was the first assignment I had completed for this programme that I truly enjoyed. It made me realize that while I think science is extremely important, I could help promote science literacy not by doing science but by helping to educate others. I also realized that I had the opportunity to combine my interest in science literacy, education, and love for history (especially the history of science) by pursuing a career in the museum field.

Finding your passion can be challenging. A friend recently asked a group I was a part of what our ten-year younger selves would think of us now. I don’t think my 17-year old self would recognize me. I think she would think I had gone crazy. And maybe I have. But I’m happy. And I’m excited. And I can’t wait to see what the future brings as I continue to follow a path that motivates and inspires me.

Finding Your Passion | kathleenhelen

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