As the new stewardship director, I have been tasked to write an occasional Stewardship Blog. The vagueness of this assignment and other biological knowledge that I have stuffed into my brain make this task more complicated than it seems. First, I have to consider my intended audience. Some readers may be fellow biologists, some may be bankers or mechanics, and some may be high school students interested in choosing a career similar to mine. That being said, anything I write must be approachable and easily understood by all.
A quick Google search tells me jargon is defined as, “special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.” We all use jargon in our chosen professions and we are all guilty of forgetting that others may not know our special words. Further, when jargon ambushes us in a conversation, we are often afraid or embarrassed to stop the conversation to ask for a more complete explanation. This is why I have decided to discuss my life experiences with scientific jargon in my first blog.
My first real biology class was a general course specifically for biology majors. The long hours my professor had dedicated to earn her PhD had molded her into an intimidating a source of knowledge. As she thoroughly explained every topic, I instantly noticed that some of the words used were new to me. I may have heard them before, but I could not use most of these words in a sentence. Like any eager student, I put in the work and learned her language. The glossary of my biology text book became my new best friend. I remember having dinner with my dad and lightly venting about how, “the professor refuses to dumb things down so our class can understand.” (more…)