Most people study Biology as a pre-medicine course. I asked my biology classmates why they took BS Biology in USeP, and most of them already answer their specialization such as paediatrics or surgery (very presuming logic). When I told friends that I am shifting from Materials Engineering to Biology, the follow up question is always “Mag-memedicine ka ba?”
I think this is where we are at fault. As children, we are conditioned by our parents and relatives to study biology “for medicine proper”. When is the last time you’ve met someone studying biology because it is their passion?
“I really love how sponges are considered animals but they are so different than most animals.”
“I am fascinated how water goes up the xylem through special properties of water and constant respiration of leaves.”
“I want to catalogue the plants and animals living in the tropics and identify physiological adaptations that make them favourable to the environment.”
No you don’t hear those anymore. They study biology because they want to be doctors someday. Now I am not dissing on doctors and medicine students. This is entirely a matter of personal choice and also perhaps the passion and willingness to cure and prevent diseases.
It is just that maybe we should condition our children differently. Educate them in the wonders of biology and that it goes beyond just as a pre-med course. Also our education system needs boost. Our universities need more aid from government institutions and private firms to promote researches and innovations. The current administration must be ready to adapt to the advancements in science and must be willing to support our growing scientific community. Give more incentives to local researchers and professors, and provide more scholarships and study grants.
Some biologists pursue medicine because of the promise of a better income. If somehow a biologist can have an income at par with a doctor, wouldn’t that be great? I also suggest: to provide more and more career options for biologists out there. Identify fields where a biologist can help out: plantations, fisheries, food processing facilities, and the list goes on.
Biology is a beautiful field of study that begs to be explored. From now on, I will direct more of my energy to writing more about biology and how biologists can be catalysts for social change.
*Update: My current literature professor is a Biology graduate. He did pass the NMAT, and studied medicine for a while. But he didn’t continue med school because his passion lied somewhere else.