«And what are you gonna do after this? Do you know yet?»
The very common questions asked by many of my friends and family, who for sure can’t remember the name of my degree. «Yes of course. I will drive taxis in Berlin, there is a taxi company for lost academics.» This is my usual answer to the question. But for real: one day, when I will be grown up, what could I do all day long to pay pasta and pesto? Like, in what could this student life end one day?
Sorry, my usual answer is a lie. I am not a passionate car driver. I am definitely not up to the roads in Berlin. Even not anymore for German roads in general, after getting used to a fairly human speed limit in Norway. So no taxis.
I did a variety of jobs in the past years. Feeding moose in Norway, picking olives and oranges in Cyprus, washing floors and carrying boxes of organic apple juice in Germany. Everything somehow nice and related to ecology. But nothing that would require a degree which fills two lines. So what am I gonna do? «Spider-conservation by studying botany and everything in the light of environmental ethics, described by the use of statistical models.» – Yes of course! No of course not.
I think it is the time we are living in and educated in which requires us to find meaning coherence in our academic education ourselves. It is not so straightforward anymore what we are educated in and what we will do with that one day.
Before I started studying I could not decide between philosophy and ecology. Being very pleased with my (ecology) choice up to now, I am still very attracted to philosophy and I used all possibilities to include environmental philosophy in my education. I think, because I am (while looking mostly at animals and plants) still very interested in the observation process itself and how it influences, what we (can) see, I also fell in love with statistics. Somehow I feel it related to philosophy, to look at data in different ways and from different perspectives and to try to imagine what we just cannot see.
And this troika of philosophy, ecology and statistics – it makes sense. After a long time of making no sense at all and asking myself: why can I not be interested in one thing?
I guess the long-term answer to the question, what to do would be: During my lifetime, I want to work with statistics, philosophy, ecology, wetlands, spiders, global change, understand connections and try to make some sense for myself and others. I want to learn so much that I maybe one day will be able to give a simple answer every now and then.
And what should I do next? A quick and true answer to that job-question of the start: I don’t know. I like surprises. Sometimes.
All the best from a very messy desk 🙂