Sage advice from scientists to students | Science News for Students

Sage advice from scientists to students

Researchers say to be persistent and follow your dreams
Oct 5, 2017 — 6:52 am EST
forest teacher
Scientists were once kids, too. And they’ve got advice for the scientists of the future.
Zero Creatives/istockphoto

Scientists explore other planets, dive deep into caves and chart the ocean depths. These are just some of the incredible things that the researchers in our Cool Jobs series have done.

But each of those scientists started out as a student. And in their journeys from student to scientist, they have used hard work, determination and sometimes a little luck to achieve scientific success. Now these researchers have advice to help others follow in their footsteps. Here, in their own words, they give the counsel they wish they’d heard when they started out.

What does it take to be a scientist? Top grades are nice, but they aren’t the most important thing. Instead, you will need persistence, motivation and plenty of curiosity. “Always pursue your interests,” says Jessica Metcalf. She’s a microbial ecologist at Colorado State University. “Never be worried about not being smart enough,” she says. “You’re smart enough!”

And no matter what you do, whether it’s science or not, “take the time to discover who it is that you are, and then…be true to what that person is,” advises Paquita Zuidema. She’s an atmospheric scientist at the University of Miami in Florida. “This may not be what your family tells you or your friends or society at large…. At the end of the day, it’s worth it to make that journey of self-discovery, because you have to live with yourself, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Listen to the full playlist to hear more sage advice from scientists with Cool Jobs.

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Power Words

(for more about Power Words, click here)

atmosphere     The envelope of gases surrounding Earth or another planet.

microbiology     The study of microorganisms, principally bacteria, fungi and viruses. Scientists who study microbes and the infections they can cause or ways that they can interact with their environment are known as microbiologists.

planet     A celestial object that orbits a star, is big enough for gravity to have squashed it into a roundish ball and has cleared other objects out of the way in its orbital neighborhood. To accomplish the third feat, the object must be big enough to have pulled neighboring objects into the planet itself or to have slung them around the planet and off into outer space. Astronomers of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) created this three-part scientific definition of a planet in August 2006 to determine Pluto’s status. Based on that definition, IAU ruled that Pluto did not qualify. The solar system now includes eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.