15-year-old Laura may need another driving lesson. Today’s post is from Associate Producer, Laura Willcox.
Like Caroline Moore, I was a 15-year-old girl once. But unlike her, I didn’t have the President inviting me to the White House to celebrate the rare astronomical discovery I had made.
I was just your average high school freshman, struggling to figure out who I was and what the heck I wanted to do. At that age, I couldn’t really have told you what my passions were, so instead, I ended up discovering them the hard way. I spent a year playing field hockey (because all my friends were) only to discover that the sole aspect of the sport I enjoyed was singing along to Christina Aguilera with my entire team on the bus rides to away games (don’t judge). Eventually, I’d stumble upon an activity that involved a lot more singing and a lot less mid-fielding: theater. Turns out all those “stomach aches” I was faking to get out of field hockey practice were just my inner actress looking for a way to express herself.
Sophomore year I joined the Civics and Government Institute at my high school even though I hated history and government (again, all my friends were doing it). While I learned more about parliamentary procedure than you can shake a powdered wig at, I was left pretty uninspired. Eager to fill the void, I also took AP Biology and the stars seemed to align. Suddenly, I was devouring my biology textbooks faster than you can say “motion to move to a vote.” For the first time, I was taking what I was learning in school and applying it to the world around me. Suddenly I was starting to unlock the answer to the question I had always been asking: WHY? Why do I cry when I’m sad? What happens to my food once I eat it? Why do long car rides make me want to puke?
My burning need for answers continued on through college where I eventually settled on a psychology major, which allowed me to study everything from neuroscience to child development to social psychology. In college I also stuck with my other passions of theater and entertainment, doing plays, musicals, and sketch comedy in every second of my free time.
Not being able to pick between these two passions of mine, science and entertainment, I decided I wouldn’t—and it’s paid off! Because now I get to combine these two loves right here at “The Secret Life of Scientists.” Looking back at the existential crises I was experiencing at age 15, convinced that my world was falling apart because I couldn’t figure out how to drive our stick-shift car, or because I couldn’t force myself to wake up at 5 am to go to swim practice with the rest of my friends—I wish I had known that what I was looking for was as easy as finding something I love and sticking with it. Caroline was lucky enough to figure this out early on in her life. She’s living proof that being unabashedly passionate can really pay off—and who knows, it may even get you to the White House or on NOVA!