So, when you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? Was the answer always “ecologist”? I doubt it, unless one of your parents was an ecologist. So, if not an ecologist, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a paleontologist, until I found out that “studying dinosaurs” might involve “scraping at dirt with a toothbrush for hours”. Then I wanted to be a professional baseball player, until it became clear that I was not going to grow into a good enough athlete to make that feasible.
I know other ecologists who got much closer to pursuing their athletic dreams. I have a colleague in my department who went to college on a golf scholarship and at least toyed with the idea of becoming a professional golfer before becoming an ecologist, and I know another ecologist who went to college on a soccer scholarship (which, he’d be the first to admit, you’d never guess by looking at him now). And Amy Hurford apparently went to college on a basketball scholarship, although just as a means to the end of becoming an ecologist.
Or perhaps you did grow up and do something else, and then switched to ecology. I know a guy who was a professional ballet dancer before he became an ecologist, and someone who got a Ph.D. in physics before switching to ecology as a postdoc.
So what did you want to be when you grew up? Or what were you, before you were an ecologist? Answer in the comments.