I’ve been asking questions for as long as I can remember. That’s why my parents called me “Miss Inquisity”. I was that quirky kid in the playground playing with butterflies and spying on ladybugs. After I got home from school, I ate How it is done on the science channel. Oh, that makes my chewing gum so sticky! Or is that really what they’re putting into Oreos? I figured. When you see all of this, you might think that STEM is a perfect fit for me, right? I thought that for a long time. My first impression of the area was that it would satisfy my relentless desire to know why. But as I grew up, this only seemed further from the truth.
When I finally had academic freedom to pursue my interests in high school, I took full advantage of it. I planned my own classes and invited myself to every science class I could find. Chemistry, biology, whatever, and that was on my schedule. While I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted to achieve in STEM, I hoped these courses would help me find out. In the junior year, I was still undecided and even more concerned because it was supposedly the toughest part of high school. I had some of the toughest classes on my agenda. AP-Chemie, Präkalkül AB – most of my colleagues would hardly take a second look. But when I started studying the material, I finally understood why they were holding back, why I kept asking so many of my friends, “When will I ever use this?” Or “When will this ever help me?”
To my great disappointment, the reality of studying these “hard sciences” is a far cry from the way it’s shown in the media – unlike anything I’ve seen while looking at it Everyone these episodes of How it is done. If you have to memorize so many formulas, constants and theorems, it is all too easy to get lost in the complexity of it all. After all, how motivating it is to remember a bunch of numbers when you don’t really know why they are in the first place Affairs to use them? And trust me when I say that I fully sympathize! It is heavy.
That’s why I almost give up pursuing STEM. I clearly remember a moment in AP chemistry when I was reviewing the fundamentals of elemental composition when I asked myself: Why do I even have to know, what’s the point of it all? I drummed my mechanical pencil on the table for five minutes, stumbled upon this one problem, and barely had the stamina to move on. Fortunately, the job wasn’t due until a week later when I finally got the wake-up call that I never knew I needed.
I didn’t expect to have such a breakthrough in my AP Psychology course, but it was Ms. Brown’s unique approach to teaching that made me rethink the idea of throwing everything away – my desire to study STEM. She warned us that neuroscience would be one of the more difficult units this year, and after my recent fallout with chemistry, I honestly wasn’t looking forward to it.
After giving our class a brief overview of the unit, she immediately divided us into zoom breakout rooms to analyze real-world scenarios using neuroscientific terminology. I particularly remember a man who suffered brain trauma in a car accident and felt no pain. She surprised us by entering our room and patiently waiting for an answer. I’ve always hated the awkward silence, and for no other reason than to Just break the tension, I quipped, “Well, the adrenal gland of the endocrine system releases adrenaline, reduces the sensation of pain, so that the man temporarily feels stronger and takes control of his situation.” She praised my participation and slightly scolded the students, theirs Cameras were off when she left the room.
I think I might like that I figured. Shortly thereafter, one of my colleagues turned the mute on and said, “Wow, you’re really good at this!” But at the time I didn’t think it was so much my ability, I thought it was how much I loved neuroscience mine Passion for discovering the why. What makes people happy, biological, what is Yes, really it continues? What factors in our brain work together to create a particular thought, reaction, or emotion? But even more than these provocative questions was the idea that we still don’t know so much about the brain – and it meant a lot more to me to discover!
So if you really want to know why more young people aren’t getting into STEM, then I hope you will remember this story. Even if I may not have a specific answer, I have my experiences and knowing why– where your learning will take you – is a strong feeling.
This is an opinion and analysis article; the views of the views Author or authors are not necessarily those of Scientific American.