Passionate about biology and a little naive, I decided to work in research, in order to help medicine breakthrough and eradicate diseases. The reality is a little different and despite the noble intentions of researchers in general, it is difficult to grasp the real impact of our work. Developing a new drug takes years and is a very tough process, not a lot of (what-seem-like-promising) compounds make it to the patients in the hospital… Throughout personal reflection, introspection and a lot of external input, I am also coming to the conclusion that, even though it’s extremely important to work on finding cures to cancers and all sorts of nasty diseases, it should be a priority to live a healthier life, more respectful of nature and of ourselves. We should fight the causes (before the consequences!), of all the illnesses that arise in the world, think twice about our way of life and be more mindful of our surroundings.
I’ve been thinking about doing something different for a while. That’s why I’m considering a career change, in accordance with my personality and my values. I am what is called a Highly Sensitive Person (I will talk about this in a future post), with empathy and compassion as core personality traits. I am very aware and touched by the issues of global warming, consumerism, environmental protection, agriculture, and so on. These issues lead me to question my role in society. Am I there to consume and profit at the expense of all the people who have not had the luck to be born on the right continent? I want to act and make a difference in the world, at my scale. I know that I won’t change the world on my own, but by working along with all the little “ants of change”, it might be possible to make things move. That’s why I think it’s time for me to listen to the wise who says “be the change you want to see in the world” (Gandhi).
Participating in a volunteering mission will hopefully allow me to use and improve certain qualities and skills that I do not truly exploit in my current work. And to find a path for my future professional journey that is in accordance with my sensitivity and my values.
Being on this reflection path, I was looking for the different options (and there are a lot! maybe I could talk about that in a later post as well). I basically I wanted to do something different with my life and give myself time to explore different paths. So I thought about traveling (which will still happen, no worries!) for a while (like a few months/year(s)) to South America (¿Por qué? ¿Por qué no?). There are many options for travelers to explore different lifestyles, meet people from all professions, engage in volunteering projects, but where to start and how to decide. Between Couchsurfing, Workaway, Woofing and all sorts of other volunteering platforms, I was kind of lost. Especially because I’m interested in a lot (and I mean a LOT) of things and I want to go everywhere.
I started following all these platforms (and more) on Facebook, and one day, among all the “$@#!µ*%” on my feed came an add, by Richmond Vale Academy:
“Gap year opportunity in the Caribbean, an environmental program: The Climate Compliance Conference is a program running for 10 years in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines:
After experiencing the damages of several climate disasters, Richmond Vale Academy initiated The St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference (CCC) 2012 – 2021 as a concrete contribution to St. Vincent getting ready for climate change. The CCC has invited more than 200 people from St. Vincent and across the world to participate in research, studies followed by concrete actions with the many Vincentians to make St. Vincent ready for climate change.”
Well, needless to say that it was the little extra push I needed to take my decision! After following the link (Richmond Vale Academy) and going through the whole website, I filled in the application form and from there… I’ll join the March 2018 team!