cpmsmith asked: Yo, you were on Radiolab? And Robert Krulwich referred to you as his pal I seem to recall? What's the story there?
Robert Krulwich was the first major reporter to talk about The Brain Scoop, and wrote a really nice article about me last February. Since then I’ve gotten to know Andy Mills, a producer for Radiolab - we bounced ideas back and forth for a while, met up for drinks in New York in August when I was there for an event at the AMNH, and became friends. I got to meet Robert at a conference about a month later - it was this surreal moment because I’d become a pretty huge Radiolab fan by that point, and when I turned around there he was, and he said “Emily Graslie! It’s so good to meet you!”
We ended up sitting next to each other and carried on random conversation throughout the day. He’s easy to talk to. Then, back in December he called me out of the blue and asked if I could help him find an invertebrate paleontologist and some fossilized coral. Which, yeah, I’m on that like frosting on a cake. Paul Mayer and I went to the WBEZ station two days later and filmed the program and I accomplished my goal of being on Radiolab before the end of the year when it aired on December 31st.
I get caught up in the day-to-day, the stress of being a self-inflicted perfectionist, the doubt and the anxiety that I’m not doing everything in my power to be the best person I can be and sometimes I just have to tell that demon to shut up before I can break through and realize how unfathomably happy I am to be alive.
myhellhoundisbiggerthanyours asked: Hi there! I have a question. I think you are a very smart and enthusiastic when it comes to stuff you do. So I have been wondering how do you keep up the "I can study all of this and I have enough energy" attitude? I am trying to be always enthusiastic (medical student) because I always loved science but lately I am kinda NAH i dont feel like learning new stuff anymore and I don´t know how to motivate myself. Any advice? thanks anyway:) and have a nice day!
You shouldn’t aspire to be always enthusiastic - it’s a state of being that is quite impossible to constantly maintain and is an unrealistic expectation for yourself, as detrimental as wanting to look like skinny beautiful photo-shopped celebrities or the images that fast food companies put out of their mouth-watering foods. The truth is, I get totally bummed out sometimes. My job can be draining, confusing, and demanding on occasion. I’m in a new city and I miss my friends, familiarity. I spend weekends on my couch alone zoned out on reddit when I know I should be reading, researching, proactively doing. I’m learning to accept that sometimes it’s completely okay to do nothing. Your body needs time to process what you’ve learned, to ingest the information, and most of all to contextualize it.
I can’t tell you how to motivate yourself because I don’t know you, but partially what motivates me is my own frustration. After a while I get frustrated that I’ve been doing nothing, dissatisfied with watching the world continue while I sit idly by, seeing events and discussions carrying on which I am ultimately then compelled to contribute to. And I pick myself up and rejoin the conversation, I meet someone to start a dialogue with, I begin participating in collaborations. I go outside.
Don’t force yourself, and don’t feel guilty when you’re taking a break. You will last much longer if you don’t burn yourself out in the beginning.
popytopy asked: Hi Emily, I love your show and i have a question. I'm a junior university student and I'm in a situation that need to go job hunting now for after my graduation. (My country's job hunting system for university student is so strange.) But I just don't know what i want to do. So if you had not met zoological museum or this field that you currently working on, what were you doing after graduate university? Sorry if you already answered about this kind of questions.
To clarify, I had an undergraduate degree in art and my masters was to be in museum studies - I’m going to assume you meant what I was to do with the first degree. The answer to your question is, I don’t know.
I thought I might get married. I was in a serious relationship and we lived together. I was a cashier at the campus bookstore after undergrad. I remember day after day staring at the racks of magazines across from the register. The magazines were all food, fashion, gossip, and weddings. After a few weeks I bought one of the wedding magazines. I spent an awfully long time looking through it, wondering if this was the next big step in my life. I didn’t think I had much else to look forward to. Considering it now it seemed ridiculous, but at the time I didn’t have high hopes for myself. When I realized I wasn’t ready - nowhere near ready - to commit to something like that, I knew I had to move on with my life.
I moved out, I got my own apartment and kept volunteering, then applied to grad school, then YouTube happened. I know that isn’t the answer you’re looking for, but it’s an honest one. Sometimes life doesn’t follow the trajectory you want it to. Sometimes it isn’t as cut-and-dry as you planned. Sometimes things like relationships are the catalyst for change. In the end I had to listen to myself, to realize I needed to be selfish. It worked out, but it was at the risk of losing someone I loved and stepping into a greater unknown.