If I’m trying to sleep, the ideas won’t stop. If I’m trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness. ~Carrie Latet
February. It really felt like the short month it is. Feeling like I couldn’t contain the hours, savor any moments or halt the passage of time. Would this year just slow down please. Looking at my calendar March looks like a never-ending month in comparison, but once the days pass and time gains momentum it will be the end of another part of 2010. Despite my blog silence I have actually been working on an article for the New Scientist. I would always joke in college that I would sell my soul for a job working for National Geographic, maybe I was just swayed by the breathtaking photography which would leave me awestruck and longing to see the wonders of the world and experience nature in all its finery. New Scientist has a similar effect on me, reminding me that we are discovering things out about our world at an alarming rate. It makes me feel genuinely ‘wowed’ by science.
Rewind back a few weeks from today, I got an email in my inbox which made me very excited – ‘do you have a burning desire to write for the New Scientist?’ I had always packaged ‘scientific journalism’ in my mind and pushed it to one side as potential career path. So given my love for science and tippy-tappying on my keyboard or conjuring up torrents of words in a journal you can imagine my delight in finding this email. They are offering a 6 month paid internship in their London office. Despite the painful long experience of waiting for my Canadian work visa (and being stuck in rural nothingness) I knew if I was to get accepted I would be stupid not to take it as it would be such a brilliant experience. Like a stepping stone and a shove in the right direction.
Luckily soul selling was not involved. All they wanted was for me to have a science degree and craft a 400 word article on a scientific advancement. I picked my favorite topic – ‘reproduction’ – and went about putting together an article on a recent discovery of channels in the sperm membrane which have been found to be linked with their swimming capabilities. You can imagine all the intrigue this has caused in the science community and the implications of this for contraception and conversely tweaking sperm to make them vigorous swimmers. So, to me it seemed like something ‘fun’ to write about. Now 400 words seems such a minuscule amount, especially when you’ve churned out thousands upon thousands for a dissertation, but 400 words is so hard to write when you have much to say. Painstaking research went into it beyond just reading the one research paper – watching their lab videos, contacting the main researcher for photos, reading the rest of the science communities reactions. I was mostly terrified of getting the facts wrong and science is all about integrity and not taking shortcuts (rules to live by in life too). Cue me checking every detail, oh dear the perfectionist in me!
Now in all honesty I went to all this effort because it would be silly of me to let an opportunity slip through my fingers like that. I’m sure there will be people applying with a string of published articles or who have religiously written for their college newspapers. For that reason alone I’m not pinning any high hopes on this. But I need to start taking chances, living a little, you never know what might happen when you do.