Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Biology Burnout: A Letter to Hopeful Conservationists

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CWU chapter.

Jane Goodall, the world-renowned primatologist, scientist, conservationist, anthropologist, and activist just turned 90 years old on April 3rd, 2024. Each year that passes, her heart, mind and spirit stay youthful as her unstoppable spirit fuels her conservation work. 

Most well-known for her work with chimpanzees, Jane Goodall has made an impact on the world in a multitude of ways. Arguably one of the most notable, is how Jane Goodall has been the inspiration for thousands of upcoming scientists. For many, her work is the spark that started the flame for their own journey, she paved a path for women in STEM and continues to share her stories, encouraging each person to take action to help the world. 

As a Primate Behavior & Ecology student, I am surrounded by other primatologists and individuals who are passionate about preserving our planet, but biologists and conservationists aren’t the only ones who can make a difference. One of my favorite quotes by her is, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”. After attending Dr. Jane Goodall’s speech, I felt my passion reignited. If Jane Goodall had let obstacles stop her from her dreams of studying chimpanzees, the primatology field might not look nearly the same as it does today. I often find myself discouraged, trying to keep up with the demands of school and the obstacles, such as financial burdens, that create barriers, preventing me from doing the types of conservation work I aspire to do. Learning about how many systems are failing both people and the environment can be taxing on young students, who are hoping to make a difference. With so many rules, regulations and processes for getting action steps approved, it can be discouraging for those who care about the environment to keep pursuing changes. Although it is not easy, being passive about the world we live in will not create any change. As Jane often says, “We must not lose hope”. Taking a step back and looking at how far you have come in your own journey may be the boost you need to keep moving forward. As a young woman, I am sure she had no clue about the vast impact that she would have on the world, and who knows what may be in store for you. 

If you are a biologist, conservationist, anthropologist, or an individual who has great compassion for the world, I want to thank you for your spirit. If you are feeling burnt out and overwhelmed by the overwhelming situations at hand, know that you are not alone in this, and know that the work you are doing today, are the foundational steps for a better tomorrow, for you and for what you are passionate about.  You never know what is in store for you in this world, but the only way to find out is to keep fighting for what you love. 

Hello, my name is Enjoli and I am double majoring in Primate Behavior & Ecology and Anthropology. I am very passionate about animals and conservation. In my free time I love painting, hiking, baking, and other forms of creating.