5 ways my biology degree helped me start a business

(Let me preface this post by saying I DO NOT think college is for everybody. I do not think you need to go to college to be successful in a career. I do not think that you are “smarter” if you’re a college grad. This is a discussion for another time, but I did want to make my stance clear.)

A lot of people ask what my background and education is in. I went to the University of Vermont and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a minor in history. Now, I own a travel company. Sometimes I look back at the hours/months/years I spent studying the inner-workings of cell processes and organic compounds and think…why the hell did I do that to myself?

I didn’t have much of a social life in college. When I wasn’t in class, I was studying. I spent years of my life studying incredibly challenging curriculum that I NEVER use in my everyday life. Seems like a big waste of time and energy right…

Well, despite me (and 99% of my friends / fellow millennials) being buried in student loan debt, it wasn’t a big waste of time and energy. I learned so many skills during my time as a bio major and they’ve all been vital in starting, owning, and building a business. Let me tell you a few…

1. The Scientific Method — a process for experimentation that is used to explore observations and answer questions.

o I use this every single day, to acquire knowledge and perfect processes when it comes to marketing, content, networking, and so on. I do background research, I construct a hypothesis, I test my hypothesis, I analyze results and I build my model from it.

2. Problem Solving

o This goes hand in hand with the scientific method, but the internal process I use to solve business problems is very much in line with the problem-solving skills I would use to alter an experiment in the lab.

3. Preparedness

o Scientists always want hard evidence to back up a claim. Whether it was handing in a report or making a presentation, I had to come prepared with factual numbers or hardened analytical figures that would back up every statement I made. I would say that a conscious consumer wants the same. When you make a claim to a consumer, a sponsor, or a financial backer, you better come prepared with hard evidence to back your claims up.

4. Critical Thinking

o I owe my professors a big thank you, as the way I evaluate options and make decisions as an authoritative figure in my business is directly correlated to the way I evaluated options and made decisions in the lab.

5. Confidence

o The science classes I took in college were excruciating. It made me reconsider if I was smart enough for a career in science (pretty much every day). Well, I survived, I got damn good grades, and I certainly became much more confident in my intellectual abilities in doing so.

So, thanks to science, I have embarked on my entrepreneurial journey! Moral of the story…it’s never too late to start something new. Your past experiences and expertise will translate, in some way, to the venture you want to undertake next.

Me (left) and my two best friends from UVM, Hannah and Anna!