I have been looking for a steady job now for almost a year now and one of the questions I get asked the most is why? Why am I pursuing or want to pursue a career in such and such? People really want to know where you are coming from and what your vision of the future is.
Honestly, even though I know my answers, sometimes I have to look back to the beginning and ask myself why? Why am I now fascinated by the use of space in cities and urban environments? Why am I pursuing a career in understanding the urban?
Like most stories, there is a beginning. As a young child, I was always chasing after butterflies, digging up earthworms, and collecting fish. Their movements and their features fascinated me. Metamorphosis, the transformation from an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, captivated my imagination and in many ways it is a metaphor for life.
I never though much of it until high school, where I met a wonderful biology teacher by the name of Mr. Adrian Price. Though we got off to a rocky start (I got thrown out of class on the first day), I ended up loving his class. His lectures were pinpoint and clear. His knowledge was extensive and his class notes were meticulous. I have yet to encounter another teacher with his degree of preparation. His biology classes rekindled my love for wildlife and its myriad forms. It was in this class where I learned just how much variety there is to life on Earth. This led to my Biology degree from Washington University in St. Louis and eventually a research assistant position in the Amazon Rainforest.
Even though it was a short two months, it was a life-changing experience for me. Being able to see the sheer amount of diversity, the incredible forms of life changed me. Like most millennials, I always cared about the environment, but I don’t think people really understand what life on Earth means. Most of us never had the chance to experience the wonders of life besides in zoos. Yet, zoos are incredibly sterile and are such poor representations. Life, true life, is not clean or tidy. Life is extremely dirty and extremely messy. That’s what gives rise to its diversity and its beauty.
It was also there, in the Amazon Rainforest, that I realized this: in order to preserve the environment, urban life as we know it needs to somehow change fundamentally. How we build, how we consume, how we live in cities have far reaching consequences. It is our supposed material needs, created by the economy, by society, and by the urban environments we live in that drives environmental change on Earth.
From the field research experience, I know that I do not have the personality or the character to be a field biologist but I still want to contribute to the many efforts in trying to preserve our planet and our wonderful wildlife. This is why I am pursuing a career in urban planning and development.
What are you pursuing and why?