A Note To Students Who Would Like

Help on a Shark-Related Project

Dear Student:

It has long been my personal and professional policy to always be as helpful to others as I can. Ironically, the further my knowledge, resources, and career develop, the more easily I can help students, yet the less time I have available to do so.

I receive many more students' requests for help than I could ever find the time to properly fulfill. So, rather than sort-of help thousands of people half-heartedly or sloppily, I opt to help hundreds to the very best of my abilities. As an inevitable consequence, I face the unpleasant task of choosing which students to help and which to ignore.

Fortunately, I have a very simple, straight-forward way of choosing which students to help: I base my selection on, 1) how much work they have invested on their own before asking for my help, and 2) how limited are the resources available to them.

I don't care how many hours you spent searching the Internet. Sure, the Internet is convenient, but (with deplorably few exceptions) it's hardly a good source of accurate, up-to-date scientific information. If you couldn't be bothered to thoroughly search the books, periodicals and journals of your local school, public, or university library for the information you need, then I have little sympathy for you. It's not my job to do your homework. The further you are in your education, the more work I expect you to have done on your own before contacting me.

If you can demonstrate to me that you have made every reasonable effort to exhaust your local resources and they're just not up to the task (because, for example, you live in a tiny community that has little or no reference material on your chosen subject), then you cannot be blamed for your lack of success and I will be glad to send you the information and reference materials you need to help you complete your project. The more work you can demonstrate you have done on your own, the more likely I am to temporarily put aside my own commitments and take the time to help you.

The bottom line is, I respect scholarship and abhor laziness. If you can demonstrate that you have invested substantial effort into your own learning, I invite you to contact me and I promise here and now that I will do everything in my power (within limits of my availability) to help you. If, on the other hand, I get the impression that you're simply too lazy to open a book: you're on your own. I hope this seems a reasonable way to balance public demand against my personal availability.

In short: You want my help? Impress me with your scholarship!


R. Aidan Martin
Director, ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research


ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research
Text and illustrations R. Aidan Martin
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