long marine lab

Tips for the future Marine Biologist/Scientist

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially with the last ask I got. I know many of my followers here are looking to get into marine sciences, or are looking to start college, or some variation of those things. So I’ve decided to make a post with some helpful tips based on my own experiences as a marine bio. graduate.

1. Make sure you are passionate about the subject you are studying. The sciences are a difficult but rewarding route to take, but you won’t get very far if you are not driven. It’s also very competitive, make sure you are ready to handle that outside of the college setting. (There is no shame in switching majors if you have to. This is your life, do something that you can get excited about.)

2. Get an internship, or do volunteer work if you can. Having those practical skill will be an asset, and you can network/make connections in the industry.

3. I can just about guarantee that your school offers research/lab work opportunities, however you might not be able to find out about them unless you ask the right people. Talk to your classmates, and talk to your professors (not just your advisor becasue a lot of times they don’t know everything the school has to offer) about what opportunities are available.

4. Marketable Skills!!!! Just being able to say “I know about/am knowledgeable about X.” is usually not enough. You want to be able to say “I can do X and have Y experience doing so.” This will make you a stronger candidate in the job market. Take lots of lab classes, and classes with field work if you school offers them. You can file this under Course Experience on your resume (and it’s totally legit).

After I graduated, I spent a year working in the “real world” and after that year I had to reevaluate my situation. I was extremely unhappy with where I was and all of my efforts to get into more “serious” marine science work I had attempted had failed miserably (not for lack of skills/knowledge, it’s a complicated situation that I will not get into now). I made the tough decision to go back to school and get a second bachelor’s degree in teaching. I am about half way through that program now, and I am so happy that I made this choice. I enjoy educating people, and I find it so rewarding. It’s challenging, but I’m enjoying it and I’ve had some unexpected but amazing opportunities open up for me.

Sometimes making those kind of decisions can seem so incredibly daunting, it almost makes you feel sick to your stomach. I’ve never felt a greater sense of relief than when I finally decided to change directions ever so slightly. Here’s the thing though: I probably would not have done any of it if I hadn’t gone through and failed horribly and miserably first. I am not happy looking back on that year, but I am no less grateful for the experiences because they have shaped who I am now and who I am becoming.

I hope this helps, and my ask box is always open.