How to become a biologist? First steps

Hello Wild biologists !

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I still think about the day I decided to pursue my career in biology. By the time, I was aged 17, which in my opinion, it is a quite young age to make such a important decision in life. But there I was, I decided to be a biologist without knowing really the meaning of it: what does a biologist do? do we chase animals and plants all our lives? do we observe birds? what do people in laboratories do?... so many questions, not so many answers, unfortunately. I am sure so many of you have gone through the same questions or if you are not in College or University yet, you might be suffering this doubts just about now. It can be stressful really and that is why I decided to create this blog. I think it might help you, young (not so young maybe…) generations to solve some of your doubts. For the ones who are still in university or have already got their Ph.D, feel free to share your experiences with the readers through comments so we can all benefit from your knowledge. Each experience is very unique and so many people might disagree with me. I am more than open for debate!

Why to study General Biology in University?

Firstly, I honestly believe that you have to love this career path. If you were always

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passionate about life, nature and had a very curious character, I think biology is the career that you should pursue. After my E.S.O studies in Spain, (Equivalent to GCSE in the UK), I’ve passed Bachillerato in Natural Sciences (Equivalent to GCE in the UK). For me personally, I knew I wanted to understand nature in general, I also loved my basic (very super basic…) biochemistry lessons, how do organs work within our bodies, a bit of physiology but surely, I never wanted to work with patients. So therefore, I knew medicine was not I was dreaming about. Besides, as a child I had always that dream of being a sea adventurer and chase whales, dolphins through their migratory paths. I did love so many aspects of life and how it works. By the time my A-Levels came I had so many doubts and I was so stressed. I did not have any scientist in my life and so I have asked my teacher at that time what should I do? Should I study biochemistry? marine biology? physiology?…. She told me, why not to try General Biology in University and from there decide which career I would like to pursue in future?. From her point of view,  if I did general biology I would get a bit of deeper knowledge in each subject and I would help me to decide which thing I wanted the most and which aspect of biology I wanted to dedicate my life to.

In my case, I went for biology because I was very indecisive about which career path I really wanted. I did not want to close doors for me and in future regret studying a specific bachelor degree such as advanced molecular biology (to be honest, I did not know a lot about molecular biology at the time, but I think it is a good example). I think people who are curious and know they want to study science and have more specific questions (for example, understanding human physiology, study the molecular composition of our bodies and its regulation, cell biology, etc.), certainly they should go for a more specific degree in University. Those who are still thinking about it, General Biology would help you to know which aspects of biology you hate and which ones you are passionate about.

Finally, if you just go to university for gaining some knowledge in biology and you want to gain deeper knowledge in macroevolution, botany, zoology, ecology, biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and a long etc. I think General Biology is the one for you.

Before entering University recommendations

I would suggest each one of you (no matter what is going to be your major) to:

  1. Sit with yourself and think deeply about what are your dreams, what sort of job do you want in future, do you see yourself as a biologist?, are you doing it because you love it or you feel obligated? It is VERY IMPORTANT to have a lot of love for this career path to succeed in it. Too many people graduate from biology each year, yet there are just few biologists unfortunately (I will go into detail in this in my future posts!)
  2.  If you say yes to biology (Hooray!) I would definitely recommend you to check which universities offer it, and which offers suit better your interests. This sounds pretty straight forward, but sometimes we think all universities offer the same modules, which is not necessarily true. Even when the modules are called the same, the program might be different. To be a biologist it is highly recommendable to have field and laboratory experience, go for the universities which have more interactive classes. The information is in the text books. You can find it any time, so try to gain the experience in field and laboratory, which is difficult to gain through reading just.
  3. If you still have doubts, feel free to contact the universities and ask as many questions as you want, it is OK to be annoying, at the end of the day, your job is what you will be doing a massive part of your life, you better make sure you gonna love it.

If you have any doubts, any suggestions on what should I improve, please feel free to contact me! share with me your experiences also, I would love to hear from you.

This is the first post, it is quite generic, I would go into further detail in my future posts! so keep posted.

Speak to you soon wild biologists!

“Although Nature needs thousands or millions of years to create a new species, man needs only a few dozen years to destroy one” – VICTOR SCHEFFER, Biologist



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Ph.D. candidate in skeletal muscle epigenetics, MSc in biomedical sciences. Passionate scientist, curious and auto-proclaimed philosopher. Welcome to my blog.

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