Real World Advice From Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Real World Advice From Neil deGrasse Tyson

©2013 AMNH, Photo by Roderick Mickens

©2013 AMNH, Photo by Roderick Mickens

©2013 AMNH, Photo by Roderick Mickens

©2013 AMNH, Photo by Roderick Mickens

Aleida Fernandez

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Lecturer Neil deGrasse Tyson has said that he knew he wanted to be an astrophysicist since he was nine. According to Tyson, the universe called to him on a trip to the New York planetarium and there was no way he could ignore it. In an interview with The Pioneer, Tyson was asked what advice he would give to Whitman students who, perhaps, hadn’t heard their calling yet. This is what he said: 

The only reason why I found [my calling] at age nine is because, every weekend when I was a kid, my parents took my brother, sister and I around [New York City]. One weekend we’d go to an art museum, the next we’d go to a science museum, and next we’d go to the zoo. We’d go to a hockey game, the opera, all of it.

We were exposed to all the things that adults do in life that fall outside of the doctor, lawyer model of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was on one of those trips to the planetarium that the universe called me.

If people don’t realize that you need to get away from the television and away from the video games and, instead, go out and explore. . . then you may spend half your life looking for your career calling.

You can’t control what your parents did and how you were raised, but once you get out on your own, you can do it yourself. Look at people who travel and see the world. They’re so much more interesting to talk to because they have ideas and shape their lives in ways that are more informed and with more insight on what they love to do and what they don’t love to do.

Exposure, I think is everything here. If I had advice, it would be to keep exposing yourself – and not in a lewd way.

You can find other ways to travel and do things if you don’t live in big metroplexes. You can read for your exposure. People who are heavily traveled or heavy readers, these people aren’t lost in life. They have a sharpened sense and awareness of who they are, where they’re living, and what their ambitions might be because they’ve seen it manifest in stories they’ve read. This is best to especially stay curious.

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