Volunteers\’ Week: Sarvani\’s Experience

Over 100 young people from around the world volunteer as part of the Young Scientists Journal Team. In celebration of Volunteers\’ Week 2019 (1st-7th June), Sarvani, a 16 year old from India, shared what it’s like to be part of the team…

I found the Young Scientists Journal as a mistake. I was browsing the dimly lit corners of Reddit and College Confidential, trying to find opportunities in writing, when I stumbled across the journal.

It piqued my interest at once; I was used to thinking of myself as part of a larger global community (an identity borne, no doubt, from my dual upbringing in India and the US), and I was sure this was a perfect example of the International Baccalaureate’s (IB’s) global-minded manifesto – and by extension, my own place as an IB learner. And although I was an aspiring artist, I’d locked in the idea of being an Editor in my mind, giddy when I officially became one.

Despite all this, it wasn’t until I received my first article that I was able to wrap my head around what global really meant. I’d expected – as an editor – to be the one at the wheel, steering the articles in whatever direction I felt they should take, weaving together the words given to me. Yet the authors of the articles I received truly embraced the titular “Young Scientist[s]”, venturing beyond the cliched into the deep, dark unknown, illuminating more subtle and intriguing truths. They were the scientists in movies, navigating complex topics with graceful dexterity and adeptness (and dramatic flair) that I often had trouble keeping up. It began to dawn on me that I wasn’t the conductor of the orchestra, just a deeply involved spectator: eager to voice my opinions, and lucky enough to have them heard. 

So far, I’ve received articles from middle schoolers discussing physics concepts that my senior class in high school is still struggling to grasp, and students halfway across the globe unravelling the threads of mathematics in elegant and nuanced ways. I’ve watched as researchers picked apart concepts that had me snoring in science class, and I’ve looked on (dreamily, I might add) as authors shed light on brilliant technological advances I may not have otherwise discovered on my own for years to come.  

Perhaps the most exciting takeaway I’ve gleaned from the articles I’ve reviewed and the experiences I’ve had is that there are so many possibilities I’m unaware of, because I’ve shut myself out from them. If I’d never taken a step back from my art and plunged into science (uncertain and trembling, I might add) I’d never have been able to experience these subjects in the way I do today. You don’t have to be a scientist to love science, just as you don’t have to be an artist to appreciate art. This is a profound truth which will probably never leave me as I embark on new journeys in my final year of high school and beyond.

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