In another life pt. 2
Two years later and with a many new faces in the lab, we thought we would revisit the previous “In another life” post! Here is what we would have done, in another life:
In another life, I would love to be a cultural anthropologist, studying the origins of traditions from non-European cultures around the world! I would focus especially folklore, myths and legends that are passed down through generations. I’m fascinated about the history behind how different myths and legends from all over the world came to be. My other alternative life career would be a medical doctor treating neglected tropical diseases. In my current life, I want to devote my career to infectious diseases in wildlife, but in general I just love parasites! In another life I would spend my days examining skin lesions from leishmaniasis, identifying assassin bugs that may be carrying Trypanosoma cruzii, and whittling through the symptoms to determine if a patient has schistosomiasis!
A better question is probably what wouldn’t I be. Other careers I think I would love:
Midwife: Everything about the process of gestation and birth is fascinating, and you can work with parents who can’t afford / don’t want the typical process. Midwifery can help make a pleasant and safe birthing experience available for everyone. I’d like to be able to offer a compassionate, family-focused service that is very affordable or free, and join the millions of midwives throughout history who have delivered babies without modern medicine!
Epidemiologist: All the fun of infectious disease, but data analysis only! When looking at grad school programs I actually was also looking at epidemiology programs, but decided at the last minute that frogs were cooler/cuter.
Classical studies/myth/legend/folklore expert: I was one Ancient Greek class away from the minor in undergrad. I had a great professor tell me once that everything in western culture is actually just the classics, and by understanding the classics we can understand everything. I think myths and folklore are unusual windows into ancient people’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations, and I find that really fascinating. So many cultures converged on the same ideas, and you have to wonder why that is.
Computer scientist: I built websites for fun as an 11-year-old in the early days of the internet. I don’t anymore, but I still love coding and can function in a few languages. This is a side passion that I wish I had more time to develop.
Costume designer: I did tech theater all through high school and even into college a bit. I love building costumes (especially historically accurate ones) and have used everything from the standard sewing machine to a nail gun to assemble pieces for the stage. I love the challenge of trying to put together a good-looking costume on a budget and with spare materials
In short, I think I am just a very passionate person who is easily interested in stuff!
In another life, I would be a Buddhist Psychologist as a side job- trying to understand the inner working of the mind, how mindfulness meditation helps relieve symptoms of stress, and helping other scientist achieve a work-life balance (something I struggle with).
As a primary job, I would be a paleontologist. I love the Cambrian explosion, Ordovician radiation, and all major extinction events. I love saying words like “anomalocaris”, “odontogriphus”, “eurypterid”, “brachiopod”, and “late Devonian extinction”. If I could say these words every day, my life would be a different story. One of my favorite quotes from the first Jurassic Park movies is by the Paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant when they see the brontosaurus, “They’re moving in herds. They do move in herds”.