I want to be an astronaut

Actually, when I was a kid I really wanted to become a marine biologist. Not sure if it was Flipper or Jacques Cousteau that sparked my interest, but I dream of one day studying whales and sea turtles. Then little by little the grown ups around me started to discourage me, first by saying that I had to go to a remote place to truly study (back then I had no sense of how cool those remote places really are) or how there would be no money on that field. That made sense back then, there could not be two Jacques Cousteau.

The U.S. is in big trouble. Global warming is not just knocking at our doors but actually sitting down in our living room having a drink, but not before leaving the fridge door open so that our ice melts. However, I think that we have a way bigger problem facing us. The latest generations could care less about science.

When I was looking for a career I actually got admitted to the pre-med program at Loyola University in Chicago. I had taken a couple of college credit courses in high school and did quite well in Physiology. I just did not have the stomach for being a doctor, my physiology teacher made us dissect a pig for weeks and the smell of formaldehyde did not leave us for months. We got to see cadavers and that was not too bad, but ultimately having someone’s life in my hands was something I was not willing to do.

I chose Computer Science as a career for many reasons. I have always loved computers and especially video games. It was also the thing to get into in the 90’s. It is sad that so many people jumped into that bandwagon only to fall off of it and hit the floor pretty hard. I remember so many people that did not have the patience to look through pages and pages of code to find that misplaced comma, or the people that simply did not have the troubleshooting skills to find a bug. Must did not graduate, the ones that did ended up working in the field for a couple of years and then quickly burned out.

We just watched one of the biggest sport spectacles in the world. The SuperBowl is an event that millions of people watch in the United States. I then think about how our kids are more and more having their dreams being dictated by the media and how much money a career is going to give you. Ask a teenager what he would want to be when he grows up and I bet that a high percentage will pick professional sports start before they pick scientist.

We are in trouble people, most scientist in our universities right now are of foreign. In this post 9-11 era must do not want to go through the naturalization hassle and end up taking all of that brain power back to their countries. If we forget sciences we are not just going to lose some of the best advances on science to other countries, we are going to lose them all. America is the land of innovation; we are supposed to ones the ones with the big ideas… the automobile, the personal computer, the iPod… what happens when the next big thing comes out of India or China… What happens when we lose our biggest asset?

I am very proud that all of these countries are moving their economies and education forward, but I live in the US and I want it to continue to be on top when it comes to ideas. I know that one of the biggest points that I am going to be looking out for in the next election is what the candidates going to do about our kids not having the dream of being an astronaut anymore.

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11 comments on “I want to be an astronaut

  1. Global warming! Right. It was -5 here this morning. I could use some of Al Gores global warming right now.

  2. Actually, the low temperatures are a result of global warming, but that’s not what I came to say here.

    I don’t know if it’s only the U.S. problem, but I’ve seen this foreign brains trait in the schools I’ve attended in Canada. Most of the researchers and graduate level teachers are not Canadian. The reason for this is, that kids want to be money machines once they’re out of High School; so they start working right away, make good cents, and school becomes something for people who “don’t want to work.”

    The sad thing is, these kids are taking their countries for granted. For example, they’re afraid to commit to a student loan. Instead of that they end up filling up their credit buying things with the money they do working. They let their government help go past them, so it’s not that they can’t study, they just don’t want to do it.

    We worry about leaving a good place for our children to live in, but are we really encouraging them to take care of it and make of their lives something they can be proud of? Unfortunately there are many people out there who only think about the “$” sign.

  3. My daughter wants to be a zookeeper. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure she takes the proper classes in biology and math so she can live her dream.

  4. Although it is apparent that professors in Universities are mostly foreign, I’m not sure I believe that most of them are returning to their own countries of origin. Despite the state of the world, America is still the place to come for the Free Market of economics and ideas. I’m sure we will be the leader in this area for some time to come.

    As far as chasing the allmighty dollar you are too correct. There are plenty of parents out there that will discourage their childs aspirations because the job won’t pay enough. Although they may have their child’s welfare in mind, there is more to life than a fat paycheck. You can have a nice salary and still be miserable in your job and home life.

    Don’t get me started on Global Warming. I don’t think a 10-12 year trend in the overall history of Earth can even raise a slight bump on a graph =) Not that it isn’t a possibility, I just don’t think there is enough evidence yet. And if actual credible scientists still disagree, then I’m not about to call it fact. I’m sure scientists have never been wrong about things declared as fact before, eh? =)

  5. I think that part of the problem is that our society has become more expensive and it’s harder to be “middle class” without two incomes. And unfortunately, science (except being a doctor) doesn’t seem to pay much to allow for a middle class lifestyle. It’s also more competitive, and I have to admit that although I excelled in science and math, I was really bored with it.

  6. Apparently astronauts drive 12 hours and over 900 miles while wearing diapers so that they don’t have to make a rest stop on their way to kill the rival in their twisted love triangle. But I digress…

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