After four years, I’ve come to realize that a person’s major can tell a lot about who they are – I mean, of course there are exceptions to the rules – but at a school that boasts over 550 stand-alone degrees and certificates, some majors just spark a more accessible mental image than others. Finance. Education. Dance. Computer Science. Chemistry.
Human Biology is one of those special majors that makes people react in one of two ways when they first hear of it. They either gloss over, nod knowingly and pretend to know what it is (“Oh, that’s cool”), or they ask questions. Questions like “Biology? Human Biology? What’s the difference?”
For me, the answer to that question came early in my college career during my very first major class – B200. The theme that year was food. I remember being awed as Dr. Libby and Dr. Bashey passionately explained how people could be obese, and still be starving. How shipping large amounts of food to developing nations could inadvertently worsen their food insecurity. How the human body has adapted over time to the diets of particular regions. Sure, I learned the technical parts about how the body responds physiologically to different food conditions, but more importantly I learned that there was much more to the story of humanity than memorizing enzymes and diseases and that the solutions to humanity’s problems were just as complex as the problems themselves. I learned that being “human” is about more than anatomy and physiology – it’s about culture, and connections, and compassion.
As Human Biology majors, I believe we have a desire within us to understand the whole picture, seek out solutions, and critically analyze responses. We have curious minds and big hearts that lead us on crazy adventures in the hopes of finding answers and making a difference. We have a desire, an obligation, to take this knowledge we have gained over the course of these four years and become the world’s next set of doctors and researchers.
To my fellow graduating seniors, I encourage you to take the scientific method out into the world and make it personal. Ask hard questions. Do your research. Construct a hypothesis. Experiment. Draw conclusions and tell the world about what you find. Indiana University Human Biology – with a little help from Google – has taught you everything you need to know to begin that journey whether you travel the world or stay right here in Indiana.
And finally, to our friends and family, thank you for helping us grow into the people we are now. Thank you for giving us the courage to pursue our dreams, especially when we do not have all the answers. Thank you for the sacrifices you have made and are currently making, as you watch us take our biggest steps yet. I know it is hard to watch us go, but I hope you are as excited as we are for what’s next. I hope you can understand that the world needs Human Biology majors.