Since I arrived to Edinburgh I’ve met incredible, inspiring and admirable people; from professors to students from many different schools of the University. All of them come from different countries and backgrounds, have different stories, ideas and ways to understand the world; still, all of them have something in common, and that is their passion.
Most of the times that you move to someplace new, you’re full of expectations and uncertainties. And the courses that you’ll take, professors and classmates are one part of these feelings, even more in the first weeks when everything is confusing and overwhelming, but afterwards all the pieces fall together and everything starts to make sense.
Person carrying up water in a Venezuelan slum. Photo by Nikolai Elneser.
Right now I’m taking a course about development, its principles and practices (yes, very theoretical – and for a biologist, that’s a total challenge). There we discuss about development theories, how they’re being implemented, if there’s any other way to do it, if the current approaches are making this world more equal and fair, discussing about poverty and gender inequality. The conclusions, most of the time, aren’t hopeful or positives (it’s a hard world, we all know that) but, despite that, there is one professor talking about these subjects, making you inquire about them, and motivating you to come with new ideas and questions. Because, at the end, it’s passion that motivates her interests.
Passion. That powerful and full of life feeling that makes you go all the way to achieve a goal, will take you anywhere to fight for a cause and that you’ll never be able to take out of your system.
What about giving a monetary value to nature? Useful, but when you think about numbers, not many people get exited (not the same with money though). Inspiring is how the professors and classmates can get you into the subject, argue different points of view with no fear of getting it wrong, struggling but at the same time enjoying learning new concepts and skills (like R #dramafaces). Because at the end, it’s all about passion.
Pablo A. Millán, an artist who has dedicated his life to protect the Yellow-shouldered Parrot in Venezuela. Photo by Provita.
And let’s be real, it’s not a fairy tale story, not all professors are inspiring. That doesn’t mean they don’t have passion, just that they aren’t that good at transmitting it. Either way, there is just an insatiable atmosphere for knowledge, full of interesting questions that at the end makes you realize that you’re surrounded by very intelligent people who are worth knowing and learning from.
So yes, thousands of people make their day-to-day life in Edinburgh, passionate about food and wanting to make people in disadvantage situations able to share that passion; passionate about empowering young people and inspiring them to become agents of change; passionate about emerging business as a mean to reduce poverty in the world; passionate about the beauty and depth this world holds, wanting to improve it and protect it; passionate about clean energy, math, the brain, language, music, art, horses and infectious diseases, trying to answer questions and coming up with something relevant and useful to make this world better.
At the end we all want to save the world. If you are also a passionate person, I invite you to share it here with me.
PS: if you’re interested, the courses I’m taking this first semester are Development: Principles and Practices, Frameworks to assess Food Security and Environmental Valuation.