What's the connection?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Have you ever wondered just how many of those knitter's out there are scientists? The Keyboard Biologist is a bioinformatician (read: one type of scientist), many might know that The Bookish Girl is an environmental scientist, and even Grumperina is a science geek. If you're like me, embarking on an adventure of returning to college this fall for a potential science degree, you might wonder these things. Thankfully, there is the ScienceKnits webring.

But what is it about science and knitting? I mean, all kinds of scientists? Have you SEEN how many library science knitters are out there? Here I always thought that I was an anomaly. I love analyzing and research and reading and just thoroughly geeking out. But I'm an artist. I've been involved with art in some form for as long as I can remember (drawing bunnies in church as a 4-5 year old). I've always leaned toward the arts, including majoring in art at my first attempt in college. Surprisingly, to me anyway, I realized in my mid-twenties that the reason I had been focusing on art and never knowing what the hell I wanted to do with an art degree (not teach, not own a business, not sell my art) was because art was what my mother really valued of my talents. So I promptly dropped out of college. Insert angst, cross country moves and then.... social work? How did I end up here? I ended up here because when I would produce art in my formative years everyone, not just my mother, exclaimed what a great artist I would be someday. Huh.

Why not science? (And this is the part that really boggles my mind.) My chemistry teacher in high school was a slightly less tall version of Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and bored me to sleep.

So I quit chemistry and never thought about science again* until recent years when I've noticed a trend in the types of things I geek out with online. Discovery Channel news, Science Daily, studies, statistics, nutritional science especially. It's been about a 2-3 year process for me to realize that my personality and interests for a career really lie more along the science part of me than the art part of me. I like art. I make various forms of art all the time in my free time: knitting, drawing, baking, cooking, embroidery, sewing, etc. But would I want to do any of those things as a job? No way. It would ruin it for me. I'm not a business person and I have no business sense.

So I did what any self-respecting, analytical, going-back-to-college, geeky, late twenty-something would do: I took a career test. Not one of those online jobbies, though I have taken my share of those, but a real honest to God career test. The Campbell Interest and Skill Survey at my college's career exploration center. For once, I was completely honest in all the answers. Do you want to read stories to children as a job? No freaking way. Do you enjoy working with people on a one-to-one basis? Not even a little bit, and I don't even feel bad about it. Okay, I feel a little bit bad since, you know, I *do* work with people occasionally at my present job but it's one of my least favorite parts and I'm being honest here dammit!

Would you enjoy working as a scientist in a research lab? Why yes, yes I believe I would.

*Except that Biology course I loved and aced in my Freshman year of college. Get a clue, Katie?


gina said...

It's very weird how many knitting librarians there are. Such a stereotype!

I wonder if it's because analytical minds are into process and detail and how stuff works? Or is it the reward of the sensory pleasures of yarn after a long day's intellectual toil?

Or is it just that we're not afraid of being nerdy?

Susan said...

Wow! What a revelation. It's really cool that you have figured all this out, and you're on the path to doing what makes you happy. Life is short! Do science!

Imbrium said...

Hrm...maybe I should take a career test again. I've never really had a firm idea of what I want to do (as evidenced by my crappy, something-is-better-than-nothing job). I originally wanted to be a geneticist (loooove biology), but I realized in my freshman year of college that I couldn't handle the potential ethical problems. And so I drifted into a psychology degree that I'll never use. *sigh* I think about going back to school, but I hated college so much, I can't bring myself to do it. Maybe someday.