Thursday, January 19, 2023

Statement of Purpose Purpose (Day 19 Year 3)

I started writing my statement of purpose for graduate school for (approximately) the sixteenth time today. I would like to get my Masters in Science writing. Writing about medical science--in particular pediatric oncology-is a bit of a passion of mine. 

I've always hated the slogan "trust the science" and "we believe in science," as if science is Santa Claus or Jesus. I prefer to lean into "understand the science" and "try to see the science." I feel like misunderstandings are always cleared up when we can process and see things in front of us. This is the wonderful thing about science: it is documented, published and thanks to a shifting direction in research, more open than ever. 

However, if you don't have a higher level degree in molecular biology or genetics, several of the oncology studies published in Nature might be out of reach to you. My daughter was assigned an enviornmental academic journal article to read for her high school class and was reduced to tears because no one ever showed her how to read an academic journal. 

And of course, they had not, it's an acquired skill taught in science classes at University or by your maverick mother who loves to dive right in and figure it out. 

That's why I want my Masters in Science writing: I love to figure it out. And I love to tell a story from what I figured out. Some of us don't want to figure it out, we want to read it in a way that speaks to us. I can write in that way--the storytelling way--and I'd like to get better at it. 

When it comes to pediatric oncology, I think making the world understand the science behind cures and treatments is what will lead to more cures and safer treatments for our kids. Non-scientists will be inspired to give more to the foundations funding research. Families with children facing cancer will have a better understanding of their child's diagnosis, be empowered to advocate for their child's treatment and have real hope knowing that science is fighting for cures, too. Scientists--especially those future scientists who are sitting in classrooms right now--will be inspired and excited to dedicate their research to kids with cancer versus one of the thousands of other things they could study. Everyone will understand the world a little better--that's what science writing makes possible. 

My words are what I bring to a fight for cures for childhood cancer. (I also bring my fashion sense and charming sense of humor.)

I also have a complicated family history with faith healing cults and vaccination. It would be great to find someone to help me write about that tangle of madness. 

Writing about medical science is personal to me. 

However, I am really scared to apply. 

I might not even stand a chance at being accepted. I am pretty sure my undergraduate transcript is a bit dodgy (i.e. shameful. horrifying. I'll never show my children, ever.) I did spend my college career in internship after internship and writing like my life depended on it; but I did not spend that much time worrying about my classes.  I have no idea how I will pay for graduate school; which doesn't actually stress me out; but I know it stresses my husband out. I am concerned I will somehow mess it all up and end up a middle aged loser with bad graduate grades and an incomplete degree.  

And really what if none of my classmates like me? What if all my classmates are younger and better writers than me?

Also, what if they find Yoke and realize I am totally and completely a hot mess? 

I've also been feeling like a bit of a professional loser lately. Maybe a bit directionless, which is ridiculous because I really know what I want (maybe). I've had some mom "friends" say some pretty insulting things to me about how I work and live--things like I wouldn't understand their professional life or how I must love not working full-time (I work 60 hours a week on a slow week, gotta hustle, friends!). I know they might not mean anything by it; but its nagged at my insecurity and made me uncomfortable.  

And maybe I should thanks these "friends" of mine. When I am uncomfortable, I usually get up and do something, like write a Statement of Purpose that I've been thinking about for 6 years. Or maybe I go obsessively Google "Paxalisib," to get ready for an interview tomorrow with a researcher who is working to cure pediatric brain tumors, because what's one more purpose-less night?



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