An Open Letter to All Stormwind University Scientists: Fledglings or Mentors
Keep going, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. All those great explorers and pioneers before you were in the same position as yourself. They were students. They were apprentices. They were commoners. They were nobles. Perhaps they were even a recluse. The point is: Regardless of your background, what we do is very difficult, and that cannot be questioned. It is precisely why I am writing to you, and if I aid only a single person with these words, then my job was well done.
I often hear that science is intimidating and demanding. There are rigid laws and principles one must abide by when practicing it. One ventures into the unknown, held afloat on the shoulders of those that came before him to jump as high as he can to be a stone for the next generation.
Every one of us has accepted this fact consciously or unconsciously. We have chosen a rough life. It is precisely why I must implore you that whatever you are going through today, you must never ever give up. I will not lie to you. There will be times where you will be kept up by abstract questions without any clear answers at night, and by day, the thirst for an answer will consume you. There will be times where you feel your back is up against a wall and you have no escape. You will be on the verge of breaking, and here is where your very soul will be tested and forged anew.
You see, I am of the belief that we are the most stubborn lot in this institution. A lot of us, including myself, perhaps delved into this art in spite of others telling us we can’t. Perhaps we were inspired by some other great mentor who was at the right place at the right time. Perhaps we observed some phenomenon, and that phenomenon ignited a hunger within us that was previously dormant.
Hang onto that drive. Hang onto the words of that mentor. Hang onto that hunger. Because through these things, you will soar higher than you could ever imagine.
Perhaps you are one of those who may be starting out. Perhaps you are a seasoned veteran who just needs a little push in the right direction. Perhaps you are neither and are completely lost where you are. I will share six simple rules my own late mentor, a master mage and a harbor master who one day pointed his lookout telescope at the heavens. His name was Magister Evanon Evergleam, a High Elven master of optics who first discovered darkened lines while observing our Sun’s spectrum, and he told me this:
- Think deeply about simple things. Ask yourself why something behaves the way it does, and in turn, ask yourself why that previous ‘why’ works. Ask yourself open-ended ‘what if?’ questions.
- Question others. Without evidence, no idea is true simply because someone says so regardless of social standing, race, rank, or experience.
- Think for yourself and question yourself. Seek to test yourself and your ideas at every possible moment.
- Don’t believe something just because you want to. Belief in something does not alter the truth.
- Test ideas by the evidence gained by observation and experiment. If a favorite idea fails a well-designed test, it’s wrong. Move on.
- Follow the evidence wherever it leads. If you have no evidence, reserve judgment and don’t be afraid to throw out preconceived notions.
And perhaps the most important of all…
Remember: you can and will be wrong. Even the best scientists have been wrong before. Of course they were. They weren’t gods. No one in this world is perfect. Mistakes are normal, and they’re just steps that we must take to find the truth.
These values undermine fanaticism and ignorance and promote thought. One may ask why we have this insatiable urge to ferociously discover, experiment, and observe and what difference does knowing things about the Great Dark Beyond or obscure mathematical equations and constants make?
It mostly depends on the size of the universe one is willing to live in. Some like it small, only going about their daily lives and errands without any other thought. But others have the unquenchable thirst to venture out of our tiny lives. When we take these discoveries into our hearts and minds, we’re uplifted by it. When we have these feelings, we want to know that they’re real because it matters what’s true, and our imagination is nothing compared to nature’s awesome reality.
So I implore all you science students, teachers, researchers, mentors, whoever: Keep going. No matter how difficult our art can be, no matter where you come from, no matter what social standing you hail from, no matter how old or young you are: The next great discovery can be yours, and every single Azerothian needs us now more than ever.
Professor of Astromancy, Mathematics, and Spellbreaking