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Old 12-01-2012, 07:57 AM   #1
Neatfish
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Marine Biology?


I was thinking of going to college to become a marine biologist. Is anybody here in that field who can give me advise on it? Would it be worth it?
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:07 AM   #2
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I've taken enough courses to almost get a Bachelors in Marine Biology, but chose not to after speaking to many Ph.D's in the field, my professors, and actually doing some of the work myself. I would not recommend becoming a marine biologist if you are looking to start and support a family, want to pursue other goals in life, want tons of free time, or want to make tons of money.

Only do it if you are going to be dedicated. It's a life of research, science, and travel. Pursue it if you love the field enough to dedicate your life to it. I am not saying that becoming a Marine Biologist will make it so you can't have a normal life, but I am saying that being one will make it hard to have a rooted life. You have to travel all over the world for weeks at a time to study and record things in the wild, you have to spend countless hours in the lab testing samples and doing regular lab work. I myself went on a couple trips to various locations around the world, most of the time it is not as exciting as you think it is. It is in fact, very tiring, the excitement wears off very quickly, and you never feel the same level of excitement after your first trip out.

You also cannot just take any marine animal you want home, most of the time it is near impossible to find a specimen, let alone CATCH it. You are allowed to get a special license that allows you to collect a very limited number of specimens for scientific research. Endangered species are absolutely illegal to take (except with an even more special license that can only be approved by the Government), and getting caught WILL land you in federal prison if the quantity taken is substantial. Even taking just one is enough for fines in the tens of thousands of dollars and possible months of prison time. If that is why you want to become a Marine Biologist, stop now. You can get a license for collecting specimens without becoming a Marine Biologist. I have a collector's license that allows me to take very limited amounts of sea critters, but most of the time it is not worth the time and money to go out there to catch a couple of things, especially since they are so hard to catch anyways.

Personally, if I had not vowed to make enough money to support both my parents in their retirement, I would have become a marine biologist. I love all things marine, I love the breathtaking beauty of the reefs under the waves, I love the tranquility of the vast expanse of clear seas, I love keeping a slice of nature in my tank, I love diving in any body of water I can. I love everything about this whole damn "hobby." I love science, so marine biology has got to be once of the most interesting topics I've ever studied, and I switched majors 7 times.

My professors used to make jokes about Marine Biology that I feel would resonate well with a lot of new college students. I forgot exactly what they were, but it was always something along the lines of "everyone wants to become a Marine Biologist when they first go to college, then quickly change their minds when they realize exactly what a Marine Biologist has to do."

I'm not trying to dissuade you from pursuing what you want to do. But speaking from experience, I have to advise you to find out exactly what you are potentially dedicating your future to.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:50 AM   #3
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George: So I started to walk into the water. I won't lie to you boys, I was terrified! But I pressed on and as I made my way passed the breakers a strange calm came over me. I don't know if it was divine intervention or the kinship of all living things but I tell you Jerry at that moment I was a marine biologist!


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Old 12-01-2012, 01:32 PM   #4
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Doing research isn't the only thing you can do with that degree. You could probably get a job at an aquarium, zoo, places like sea world, or be a specialist at a fish store or something. True, those jobs may be limited, but it's definitely possible.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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I figured somebody would tell me something like this. Maybe I need to rethink what I really want to do and just have this as a hobby. I might just end up doing something in the hospital since I already work in one.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefisherman View Post
George: So I started to walk into the water. I won't lie to you boys, I was terrified! But I pressed on and as I made my way passed the breakers a strange calm came over me. I don't know if it was divine intervention or the kinship of all living things but I tell you Jerry at that moment I was a marine biologist!
I know exactly how you felt. I was like this too, except I was excited and anxious to go into the water on my first dive. It was absolutely breathtaking, one of the finest moments in my short life. I felt so small and insignificant surrounded by the vast expanse of the sea. I knew that life was all around me my entire life, but when diving I actually felt like I was part of the circle, the circle of life. *cue Lion king soundtrack*

Quote:
Originally Posted by okapizebra View Post
Doing research isn't the only thing you can do with that degree. You could probably get a job at an aquarium, zoo, places like sea world, or be a specialist at a fish store or something. True, those jobs may be limited, but it's definitely possible.
Agreed.

However you don't need to be a Marine Biologist to get a job at any of those places. It improves your chances, but it isn't necessary to get a 4 year degree unless you plan on being a specialist. Also Marine vets are a different field too. Marine 'Biologist' is just for the most part a scientist that focuses on things marine, 90% of your job is collecting data and analyzing it. If you're going to be a Marine Biologist, you have to go big, or you won't love your career choice. Would you put aside traveling the world to collect and analyze data and the thrilling (not) hunt for specimens for a job in an office? Or to work in a park? Ask yourself, why did you want to become a Marine biologist in the first place? Personally, I hate the office, I am definitely a field worker, and getting a degree for something that revolves around nature but forces me to stay inside is just ludicrous.

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Originally Posted by Neatfish View Post
I figured somebody would tell me something like this. Maybe I need to rethink what I really want to do and just have this as a hobby. I might just end up doing something in the hospital since I already work in one.
Sorry to shoot a hole in your dreams, but it had to be done, just like it had to be done to me. I didn't mean to discourage you, I only want you to know what you are getting yourself into well before you discover it isn't for you, like I did.

Even though I decided not to pursue the life of a Marine Biologist, I still dive with my professors, I still keep tanks, I still do everything that I would've done, minus the lab science and minus the getting paid. Who says that this has got to be nothing more than a hobby? Who says that you can't do everything a Marine Biologist does in your own free time?

I think you get my point.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:36 PM   #7
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all kidding aside neat, i truly believe you should pursue what you are interested in. and if that means getting an education learning about something you love go for it! regardless of how lucrative a profession and/or availability of jobs...

i know many patents may disagree as they only want to ensure their children have every opportunity to be financially stable on their own.

but you know what, i spent 12 years in school studying architecture, photography, critical thoery, english literature and fine arts in school and worked (during school) for construction and architectural firms all my life and continued to do so when i graduated because i thought "thats what my
parents want"

12 years later after quitting my architectural job to pursue "the dream" of going into publishing working and making money with friends... i realized i am and always will be architect.

an educational experience and occupation i love, even if the pay sux and nobody appreciates you lol. but now i not only restore buildings, i design and build them with my new firm.

follow the road till it ends my friend...you are only young once, and the resilience of youth should be savored. you have all your life to figure out how to make money! good luck!




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