It’s the mid of June and pretty much the admission time for undergrads. Eager students, anxious mothers and exhausted fathers run here and there in utter confusion of what subjects their children should select. A great majority that does not get into medical apply in the Biosciences department ask us two basic but crucial questions: why study Biosciences and, more importantly, does it have a scope in Pakistan?? In this article I will first explain what exactly our degree of Biosciences is all about and then we will move on to its scope.
Biosciences degree teaches you a bit of everything with its focus on the core biology subjects like genetics, plant and animal sciences. It also teaches you what I like to call ‘the basic survival skills’ like business, management, entrepreneurship, psychology and computers. The best part is that the teachers are teaching the most of core subjects in an easily applicable manner. Meaning, you will walk out of the class remembering most of the stuff just taught. Another important factor is that the course is designed in such a manner that the students are taught the general-science knowledge as well as its practical applications in Pakistan. This makes the whole learning experience more relatable and enjoyable. There are many brilliant things about our country that we do not know and we do not find it out through television but this degree will help you fill that void and ultimately work for the betterment of this country.
Biosciences will teach us structures, types, modes of actions, biochemical pathways as well as different laboratory techniques essential for you to know to become a good scientist. We most particularly enjoyed DNA extraction; it was a joy to see your own delicate DNA strands that encode you, suspended in the tiny Eppendorf tubes.
Now coming to its scope, Biosciences has a scope in laboratories both in research laboratories (those present in different universities) and diagnostic ones. Research laboratories include NARC and PARC as a lot of research work is being carried out there. Hospital laboratories also serve as a good experience for using laboratory equipments. Scope is also in working for pharmaceutical companies. However if you are a good writer you can also take up scientific journalism as your career option. Thirdly, one can be a teacher, an option open to all fields. You can also work for nature conservational firms like WWF, IUCN, SDPI, ICIMOD to name a few. Last but never the least, one can most importantly create new vistas in Pakistan. Be innovative, creative and explore. I have also considered drawing Biology comics as a career option. Okay on a serious note, there is an urgent need for bringing forensics in Pakistan; there are well equipped Forensic laboratories in Lahore but unqualified few to none work in them. Consider this option too. If we all want change we better as well start working on it.
Internship and volunteering opportunities that you can avail while doing this degree are also many. You can participate in the splendid 5-day long WWF Eco Internship program which will give you an insight on biodiversity in Pakistan as well as many important things like CV/Resume writing. You can voluntarily write for the exquisite ‘Technology Times’ newspaper which is an initiative of Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan and is a well maintained project. They are also launching their own web based channel soon known as Tech TV whose aim is to promote science and technology among the youth of Pakistan and working for this channel can also serve as a career opportunity for us.
Biology Decoded itself has started offering internship for science writers. This is open for students of high school, undergrad and graduate levels. For more details visit our ‘internship’ page.
Lastly, one thing one must keep in mind before entering university life or at least should decide in a year or two after joining university is to set your goal according to your liking and aptitude; just doing what your parents want you to do or just going with the flow will not help. Another thing about university life is that it is the time to explore your talents. Explore them, accept challenges and meet deadlines. Participate in co-curricular activities but keep a balance between your scholastic and the non scholastic activities. Take calculated risks and do not take your eyes off the goal.
Think positive and you can achieve the most impossible tasks. Best of luck!!
This article was originally published in Speechofpak.com in 2014. This is an updated version.