The number of times I’ve uttered those words…
It seams that not a week used to go by when they weren’t spoken, back in the days when speaking to our parents about school was still cool. Then of course came that sad sad phase in our lives when “conversation” meant lots of “isn’t he just gorgeous!”, “yeah…”, “mmm hmmm” and “whatever”, with many an ill placed “like” making up the rest of our sentences. In those times, talking about school was taboo, talking about things we’d learned there even more so, and talking about things we’d learned at school with our parents would have made headlines for the next “Extra, extra, read all about it!” if they were discovered.
Thankfully, however, I at least have left this phase behind me, with the last vestiges of teenage-hood stripped from me with my coming into the tween years earlier this year. I’ve found myself enjoying more and more the convos I’ve had with other adults, my mother especially, on the things I’ve learned during my degree.
Discussions on all things geology and physics have greatly increased in number this year especially. My older sister is currently writing her thesis for her Masters in Astrophysics, her project is investigating the magnetic field produced by pulsars, the remnant of a star gone supernova (which by the way, is very cool). I have been writing essays and presentations on my own studies, such as a recent field trip. We are usually chattering away at mum about what we’re studying, without even wondering if she understands half the stuff we mention (her background isn’t in Science at all, its in History and Criminology). But, she always shows interest, I’ve rarely seen her eyes glaze over when I mention jargon, like Ediacaran (see Steph Ludekens’ glossary).
I asked her once in first year (while I was still under the influence of teenage-hood-ness and wasn’t thinking perfectly straight) whether or not she enjoyed hearing about what I was learning. “Of course!! What you girls are learning is really fascinating, and I love hearing about it!” was her reply. I was relieved, for this meant that I would be able to talk to her for the rest of my life, knowing she wouldn’t think me as too much of a nerd.
Communicating science to our friends and relatives may also seem like a bit of a taboo: if they aren’t in the know, they don’t want to know. Sometimes this is the case, but most often its not. Many people really are fascinated by what we have to say, we just need to learn how to say it right.
These new snippets of information don’t go in one ear and out the other of the listener (unless of coarse you’re speaking in a monotone…then everything you say does that). Instead they often say “Well now, I never knew that! You learn something new everyday…”