Finding your spark
by Emily Myron -- February 12th, 2012
As I am about to start the next chapter of my life, an exploration of what motivates me has really rocked my boat.
Hello everyone, sorry I have been MIA this semester. Don’t let anyone fool you – taking classes, working on a Master’s Project, and looking for jobs is exhausting! Some good has already come from this stress, though. I have, for the first time, recognized the immense importance of taking some time to just think, and not just about what I am going to make for dinner, or when the next time I will be home long enough to do my laundry will be.
On a whim, I decided to take a Conservation Ethics class this semester. I have never taken a class like it before, but , I figured that if I hope to convince people that biodiversity is important, a basic understand of ethics wouldn’t be a bad idea. It turns out that this class will probably be one of the most important classes I have ever taken because it has forced me to challenge my own belief system.
I have cared about the environment for as long as I can remember, but I realize that I have never really thought about why I feel that way. When recently asked to write an essay on my own environmental ethic and beliefs about my personal responsibility toward nature, I was panicked. After writing countless lab reports, a senior thesis, and personal statements, who would have expected this would be one of the most difficult things I would have to write.
Is there such a thing as intrinsic value? What does it mean to ‘value’ something? Are some things more ‘valuable’ than others? Does nature have rights? Are we responsible? Are we capable of being responsible? What can we do? What should we do? These all seem like sensible questions to ask an environmentalist, but I am still not sure I can answer them all fully – I still have a lot of thinking to do.
Taking the time to think about my personal motivations and obligations has been really eye opening for me, especially at the time I am looking for my first job in the field of conservation. It has helped me understand myself, my passion, and my needs. Not only is this invaluable for self-discovery (as cheesy as that may sound), it is also crucial for finding a job that I find meaningful and fulfilling. How can I be true to myself and my beliefs without knowing what those are?
If you have already come to these realizations for yourself, consider yourself lucky, because I think it is important to take the time to think about why we are doing what we are doing. For me, I have always felt compelled to give a voice to those that may not have one, or to those whose voices we, as a society, seldom listen to. I have realized that this idea is what drives me forward and provides the spark to the fire inside of me. This idea is what makes some jobs seem appealing and other seem tedious. This idea is what will make me work toward a better world.
What is your spark? Where is your fire taking you?