I know I personally find myself overwhelmed every day with information overload, as I scroll through my social media. My cousin's adorable baby, happy her mother is working from home. A story of another senseless act of violence and a plea from a grieving mother begging for change. Good news about the environment, damning news about the environment. When it becomes too much, as it often does these days, I turn away from social media to refocus on the research work I’m conducting. In these early stages of research, the more dry and difficult work has to be done, reading. I find myself, typically comfortable in my solitude, wondering what it would be like if I was able to go sit in the cold hard chairs lining the rows of lab benches that fill the warm room in the second floor of Jennings.
That is when I realized the real danger of the solitude scientist. In my studies so far I have become quite comfortable with grinding long hours in books. By myself. Typically late in the night after closing down my cafe job. It was easy to coordinate studying when I was the only person I needed to compare schedules with, which is convenient as many students don’t find themselves doing the brunt of their work at 4 in the morning.
However, today I want nothing more but to be taken out of my warm cozy comfort zone. I gave myself the friendly reminder that the Earth needs me, and I cannot save it from my bedroom.
Human interaction is a necessity to everyone, but it is something that education thrives on. Not once since March have I had the opportunity to hear my classmate ask a question. A question I might not have thought of until they offered it out loud. Not once has someone been able to walk past me and give me a gentle nudge that the paper I’ve spent hours scouring will be a dead end to what I’m looking for. Not once have I been able to look around the room and be reminded that no matter how tired I am with the world that day, there are lots of good people who are working really hard to make this planet a better place for everyone. And so as I continue to sit in my room alone, and chug along through paper after paper, I am planning for the world that I will eventually go back into.
The true importance of the collective mind is irreplaceable, and it has become evident to me now that it is also something crucial to the scientific process. This is where a new responsibility arises for the scientist in 2020, social media. We must now utilize platforms such as twitter to have our findings be heard. Connecting with one another seems so difficult but is made so possible with the use of technology readily available to so many people.