Recently I was contacted by a Rhodes journalism student who was in the process of completing an article about snakes for the Grocotts Mail. Although strange to admit, given my current path as a MSc zoology student focusing on snake genetics, I was once in her shoes, completing my hours at the Midrand Reporter in pursuit of my second year Rhodes Journalism and Media Studies credit.
Although I am very much a ‘science kid’ now, I was once undecided, I was once a BA kid. My original intentions when I came to Rhodes were to do a Bachelor of Journalism and afterwards, pursue a career as a journalist. Although its safe to assume I did not take this path, my three years in journalism are an invaluable asset which I would not give up even if I was given a second chance. Yes, I have been mocked profusely by conventional science students because of my unconventional undergrad, but it doesn’t bother me because this website, and many of my other achievements are a direct result of the lessons I learnt in journalism.
In addition to teaching me how to write eloquently, edit media and talk to people, journalism taught me how to market myself, something that is invaluable in a world galvanized by social media and the internet. Journalism has however been unsuccessful in curing my bad habit of going off-topic because what I was trying to say is that its weird to be on the other side of the questions. After so many years of asking the questions and writing the stories, I have got to say, its nice to see my name in the paper especially when its in reference to something I love.
The article which is termed ‘Snakes alive’ discusses why snakes are so common in Grahamstown in the summer months, what the most common snakes in the area are and what to do in the instance of a snake encounter.
Snakes are my passion, and although I had to give up my comfortable position on the byline to pursue my dream career, I wouldn’t change a thing because even though herpetology may not be as financially secure as lets say journalism, it gives me joy and fulfillment, something that very few people get to say these days. And if this article is anything to go by, I must be doing something right to get into the newspaper, because idiots don’t get into the newspaper… usually.
P.S. Thank you to the author for considering this topic and thank you to Grocotts Mail for publishing this article, the information in articles like this go a long way in reptile conservation because they dispel theories that often lead to unnecessary snake mortality.