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Meteorite vdmerwea at intekom.co.za
Wed Oct 29 14:31:20 EST 1997

Dear Rob...

I think that if you would like to go into the virology field, you should
get a solid molecular background, as well as experimenting with
microbiology, zoology, botany, etc. At the university I attended, there
were no undergraduate courses in virology. Now, during my Honours, I am
still not able to attend a course in virology, although I've been working
on the molecular characterisation of a virus for quite some time now. What
I know about viruses, I had to teach myself. I still think that's the best
way of learning, but that's only a comment.

The best thing to do would be to get involved with a lab working on
viruses. Sweep the floors if that's the only thing that will get you into
the lab. I had to clean waterbaths. But what I learned in that lab is now
more valuable to me than all my undergraduate courses! Also, try to talk to
the people in the lab. This will all boil down to the programme leader, who
might just give you a chance at postgraduate study.

Most of all: HAVE FUN! You'll hate virology if you're not interested, but
interest can be stimulated by trying to have fun. I see my whole life as
one big vacation. In my mind, I've never worked for a second. But many
people tell me that I'm working too hard, and that I'll burn out. I won't,
because I'm having fun, and that's all that matters in the end.

If you would like to read a bit of fictional science to get you into a
positive mode and make you enthusiatic, go to the library and get yourself
a book by Stephen Jay Gould. He wrote lots, but I favourite Bully For
Brontosaurus, which has to do with evolution.

Enjoy, and HAVE FUN!


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