Watching yet another TEDTalk yesterday helped remind myself of what one of my true passions are in life: help save the planet. Before I started to pursue my psychology degree, I was all about ecology and biology and even wanted to work in a zoo to help with conservation and education.
But then, reality set in. I am quite allergic to things, and working with animals all the time won’t be a good career path. The job is very competitive and if you’re not the creme-de-la-creme, you probably won’t make it. The education field doesn’t pay much, and I wanted to achieve a certain type of lifestyle that involves making more money.
My anti-calling came when I applied for a job in Africa as a Research Assistant through the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. I had just graduated with a double major in Biology and Psychology, and I thought, “This is it. If I am put on this earth to do conservation, I will get this job.”
I got to the interview process…but I didn’t get the job. (Why is it there’s always someone else better or more qualified than you out there?) I was depressed for a bit, but then turned it around and interpreted this situation as me not being put into this world to be in the field saving the environment. I can still help in other ways, so I turned to psychology.
For the past two years, my life has been dedicated to pursuing an entrance into graduate school in psychology. It has served me well, and I recently got accepted into a PhD program in Industrial/Organizational psychology in Ontario. This definitely appeals to my intellectual side, because although I thought I didn’t like research before, it’s what I’m good at, and I do need to be working in a field that requires me to think or I will feel my brain rotting away. I also helps that I/O psychologists with a PhD get paid a good amount!
So now my life path is set. I will go to graduate school for 5 years, build up my career as a consultant, make “tons” of money, buy a place, and be able to travel (my other passion in life).
Then last night, I watched a TEDTalk episode by Sylvia Earle’s Here’s how to protect the blue heart of the planet, one of TED prize 2009’s winners. She’s a leading deep-ocean explorer and talked about how we should save the ocean.
I’m already a sucker for these kinds of talks, and when there’s a great speaker and who can evoke emotions in me (a great slide show helps, too), I get all emotional.
And I’ve come to realize that if I am emotional about something, I must care about it a lot, and perhaps even at a subconscious level. So I took heed. And I stopped to reflect that although I was on this “fast” track to becoming a consultant and making money by helping companies, the whole point of doing so was
a) to live a good life = be financially secured, can travel to amazing places around the world, and gain access to any health/medical facilities I need
b) to be able to donate money instead of donating labor to conservation efforts
I’ve always planned to do volunteer vacations (two birds with one stone!), but lately, I’ve lost sight of this latter goal. Being surrounded by people who just work indoors and don’t really go outdoors to enjoy the sun and nature doesn’t help me think of the big picture of helping humanity by helping the earth!
Think about it: without oxygen, clean air, water, animals, forests, etc. there will be NO PEOPLE!
I’m going to keep Sylvia’s vid on my laptop, and when I lose sight of what I’m doing, I will watch it, and it will help me keep the big picture in mind. I will eventually be in a position of power (and have the money) to influence change, and I won’t die in vain.