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Re: How to be a paleontologist

While I agree than ambition and motivation can play a big role, I do not
think that the advice to "just try harder" is valuable to some students who
may be having problems is school. This can actually have the opposite effect
you are looking for. If a student has an actual learning problem or
disability they may not be able to "try harder". They may feel very guilty
if they are trying hard and still can't cut it- lets face it, sometimes your
best just isn't good enough.

If you are a student and have a learning problem, disability or just can't
seem to get the grades you want, you need to get professional help. Try to
get a diagnosis of what your problem or learning difference may be. You need
to take an active role in your education. If you are in a slower track
program and it's not helping you, or it's holding you back speak up. If your
tutors don't help you get other ones. You'd be surprised on how much a good
tutor or learning 
specialist can help. 

If you are college bound remember that other things count besides grades and
test scores. If you want to be in a paleo program in college, start
volunteering now. Enthusiasm and hands on work in your major looks really
good on your application. If you work with a paleontologist or preparator
you have a great recommendation letter! 

Finally, never feel stupid, don't compare yourself to others, never give up
on yourself. Whatever happens, never ever let someone tell you what you
*can't* do. Anyone who ever tells a young person "can't" should be poked in
the eye! 

BTW, I'm a muti-learning disabled adult who has a BS in science from a very
good school, and I now audit grad paleo courses at and Ivy league school.
Most of my scholastic experience was a living hell. There are lots of
ingenious talented "average" and "below average" kids out there. Usually
people who have to struggle have a lot of substance to their character, and
have a lot to offer. The world would be a better place if personal
achievement and enthusiasm was more important then an ability to get a score
on an exam.

-Sherry Michael
"No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try."

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