This blog is a collaborative effort between the Foundation for Student Science and Technology (formerly the Canadian Young Scientist Journal) and Science.gc.ca. Our aim is to offer an interactive platform where Canadian students can talk about their passions, challenges and ideas on how to further pursue scientific interests and education. We welcome new contributors -- if you are interested please contact us at information@science.gc.ca.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Originally Published: June 10, 2014
By: Sarah Arab

When you look at the grand scheme of things, we are no more significant than a speck of dust. If you take into consideration the vastness and the continuous expansion of the universe, you come to realize that maybe that math quiz you just flunked isn’t worth stressing over. The stars, planets and multiple galaxies couldn’t care less. Hey, maybe in an alternate universe, you may have completely aced it. Science is a great self-esteem booster. Trust me on this one.

However, what makes us different than mere stardust is the gift of conscience thought which leads us to believe we are much more important. I think that’s what makes life so interesting to ponder over; it is definitely more than just its physical embodiment in an organism. No matter where you start to unravel life as we know it, whether it is at the genetic level or the species level, everything is related in the most complex manner and this also means that every single thing is important. Nothing is irrelevant. I am aware that this contradicts what I said earlier, and this is exactly why this concept fascinates me to no end.

We can pinpoint the complexity of life down to the simple will to survive. Everything that has a shot at life will do anything in its power to keep itself and its kind going. DNA, for example, can be described simply as genetic material that codes for life’s basic processes. Kind of like a blueprint. Although it is nothing more than a bunch of molecules strung together in a particular pattern, it still is able to give rise to an entire organism. If that doesn’t fascinate you, I don’t know what will. In addition to that, it insists on mutating itself with one goal in mind, to make you a better organism biologically, so that you may prosper, for many generations to come.

Every single cell in your being cries out for life.

So basically, your entire body is rooting for you.

Every single process in your body is for you. Your immune system works to keep you healthy, so that you may live. Your heart beats to keep the blood circulation flowing, so that your cells receive the oxygen they need to keep going. If you ever get a cut or a scrape, millions of tiny platelets rush to the scene immediately to clog up the wound. There are thousands of hairs in your nostrils, just so that harmful bacteria will stay out. Literally any and every component of your body, even down to the finest strands of DNA, is working hard to keep you healthy, alive and going strong. So don’t you ever think, even for a moment, that “nobody cares”, because your body undoubtedly does.

So, next time when you’re down, feeling broken, confused or lost, take a deep breath and remember that for a star to be born, a gaseous nebula must collapse. So hey, this isn’t the end, it is the start of something new. You are the result of a highly complex mathematical equation. You are stardust. You are a living and breathing fragment of the universe itself.
So live it up.

[A special thanks to my 11th grade biology and chemistry teacher, Ms. Parrington, for helping me reignite my interest in the sciences. I appreciate and reflect on what you teach in class every day, it really has helped to make me a better person and more appreciative of the world around me.]

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