I remember the night just before my first day of school, I was totally terrified. I had a nightmare that I was lost in the school and no one was willing to help me find my way back. They would instead ask me what was wrong with me. I was panicked. When I finally woke up, I unsurprisingly didn’t want to go to school. However, I have never mentioned it to my mother, since I knew what she would tell me. She would tell me to snap out of it and that I would have to go to school like any of my siblings. Let’s say that I never felt like there were any place for drama, or at least emotions, at home. So, I kept that detail for me.
Turns out maybe this dream may have been a warning for what was to come, but scientifically speaking it couldn’t. Reasonably speaking, it was probably only the expression of my worries. I always had trouble with changes and that was essentially an enormous one. There are probably multiple factors to account for my difficulties adapting to school. However, I think that the strongest factor was my emotional over-expressiveness. Difficulty controlling the expression of my feelings possibly made me a very easy target for intimidation. And so, by the middle of elementary school, I started getting bullied by a guy and that lasted through most of my high school years as well. This could probably have been enough for most people to become bitter about school and rebel against the institution, or, at the very least, produce a strong desire to quit attending school. Fortunately for me, this was far from the feeling I had toward school.
Let’s say that school was both a nightmare and my safe haven. Well, you may understand why this was a nightmare, but it isn’t all that clear why this was my very safe haven. You might think that home should have been my safe haven, but it wasn’t. At home, I never felt like I was doing enough. Everything I was doing was judged to be done badly. Additionally, things I was craving for like admiration or, at the very least, respect was nowhere to be found. On the contrary, at school, there existed both admiration and respect. I could make my teachers proud by using my knowledge to answer questions and when I answered correctly, they showed me praises. But moreover, there was no name calling or insults thrown. But sadly, I can’t say that all teachers were like that. I had one teacher in elementary school that picked on me. To this day, I regret not standing up to him, but what could I have done? I was only a kid.
Then again, most teachers were all very supportive, so by rules of generalization, I loved my teachers. Yet, what I like the most about school was its seemingly infinite source of information. Information that could potentially be knowledge. Knowledge was ultimately my escape. My escape from boredom, from loneliness, from intimidation and from injustice. As a kid, I perceived that knowledge could help solve all problems. With it, I could extrapolate answers to behaviours or to just any basic fundamental questions. My curiosity knew no boundaries and with curiosity arose multiple questions. School then became necessary and provided me with endless possibilities to see the world through another lens.
One question that I’ve had and that is now left mostly answered was the reasons behind my childhood harassment. I always wondered why children could be so hurtful and then I realized that one major difference between children and adults is their openness to differences. Pre-teenager and, to a lesser extent, teenagers have a strong desire to fit within a group (sense of belonging). They do it in such a way that their appearances, their thoughts, and their experiences must be kept as similar as to the rest of the gang. However, by the time they leave high school, they recognize that a quest for normality is vain and they have to develop a better awareness of themselves (identity). For example, the eight-year-old me talking science to classmates was probably interpreted as me pointing out what they ignored. This fact was enough to confirm that I didn’t fit in. Alternatively, adults realize that one human in its lifetime can’t learn everything the world has to offer. Most won’t feel offended or confronted by an individual possessing information that they don’t have.
Then, from my quest to gain knowledge came a natural appreciation toward science and eventually an admiration and a love for it. I was first introduced to science with a special book: a science encyclopedia for children. This book was lying in the bookshelves in my bedroom and since I had to stay in bed after waking up in the morning, I decided to open it. This book was perfectly designed and got me to be amazed by everything nature had to offer. Two articles really grabbed my attention. The first talked about the size of the largest mammal on Earth, the blue whale, which can measure up to three buses long. The second introduced the difference between the terms: storm, lightning, and thunder.
I absolutely rejoice in acquiring knowledge, but acquiring it was only part of the joy it brought me. The most satisfaction I got was when I decided to share the knowledge. I genuinely thought that people would like to know everything as much as I did. Turns out this couldn’t be far enough away from the truth. It took me a few years to realize this. With this cluelessness came insults from my family and my friends telling me that I was a weirdo, that I talked too much, and that I was a big know-it-all. All that hurt led me to change my approach to science communication. With time I learnt that science can be communicated more easily to people that are truly interested and that interest is most often expressed through asking questions. If you pay attention to the questions, you can be there to answer them and thus communicating knowledge. My second realization is that too much science content on the internet right now is overly specific and needs previously acquired material to understand it.
I believe that this leads people to believe science is only accessible for educated people, but the truth is that everyone is doing science. Moreover, everyone is doing science every day. Your body is constantly doing chemistry by measuring blood sugar content and releasing corresponding levels of insulin. It is also doing physics every time you walk or run. It is also doing physiology whenever you experience pain or mathematics whenever you purchase something in a store. Science is not for an elite population; it’s for everyone.
This is the reason Bring Up Science got created. My goal is to bring light to the science behind different elements of our life. From the first leaves in the trees in spring to the way we perceive pain. Science is a beautiful thing that everyone deserves to enjoy and that might just start with Bring Up Science. So, no matter where you are right now, what you’re doing or even if you know the fundamental principles of physics. What’s important is that you open yourself up to the amazing potential and accessibility of Science. It will make you appreciate life in a different perspective and maybe allow you to see all of yourself as a beautiful orchestra of science.
I thank you infinitely for reading this post and if you would like to know more about the mysteries that surround us, please join my subscription list to keep up with my newest content. If you have any questions, please add them to the comment section and I’ll make sure to answer as soon as humanly possible.