Everything is Hilarious

Last night Sapphire and I finished our chemistry project on photosynthesis and Gibbs free energy and went to seek Finn.

Fritz had been texting us while we were working on our presentation, which ultimately resulted in Sapphire stealing my phone and telling him that the more he texted, the longer we’d take to get done.

Finn, at some point during the evening, asked to borrow my phone. I obliged, and he went to do laundry and other responsible things while Sapphire and I made fun of botanists.

Fast forward twenty minutes, and we were stalking around the first floor laundry room, trying to find Finn so that we could text Fritz and watch Sherlock.

When we couldn’t find him, Sapphire called my phone. Finn, who later said this was his first mistake, picked up the phone and informed us he was hanging out on the fourth floor.

“He wants to be alone,” Sapphire remarked.

Naturally, we caught the next elevator up to the fourth floor.

We found Finn lying on a couch in the study room, talking on the phone. Within the next ten minutes, Sapphire had forced him out of his seat so that she could lay on the couch instead. I was on the couch on the other side of the room, looking at the ceiling and feeling very sorry for Finn.

Of course, that was short-lived. I’m not sure that Sapphire or I really know what happened, but for the next two hours, through a meal and an attempt at watching Sherlock, we laughed hysterically, occasionally bursting into fits of giggles for no apparent reason.

[in the elevator] “We’re not high, I swear!” [looks at Finn’s severely disappointed and self-conscious face] [uncontrollable, shrieking laughter]

[Sapphire steals Finn’s wallet] “Sapphire, do you have my wallet…?” “Yes!” “Can I have it?” “I don’t have it!” [laughing hysterically]

[Sapphire gets up abruptly] “Sapphire-chaaaan! Sapphire-chaaaaan?” [Sapphire reappears with a roll of paper towels and throws it at Fritz] [giggling manically]

[Finn talking about a Cracked article] “Like, movies, but—” “Hahaha! You said butt!” [wheezing with laughter]

I really don’t know what happened. All I know is that Finn said, “I shouldn’t be learning why I don’t want children from college-aged adults,” and Fritz responded with, “Adults?”

They say laughter adds years to your life. Sapphire and I are going to live forever.

My face still hurts.

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Chemical Kinetics: Biology 1, Chemistry 0

Yesterday Sapphire and I were in chemistry when our professor started talking about catalysts. He gestured at the notes he’d projected on the whiteboard and said, “Enzymes make the best catalysts, because they are heterogenized homogenous catalysts. Chemists have to try to copy their example when they’re designing new ones.”

Wait, hold up, Dr. Chemistry Professor.

[rewinds]

Did you just say a biological component does a better job of something than its purely chemical equivalent?

Did you just say biology got something better than chemistry?

[Sapphire laughing hysterically, probably]

Many Friends, All Lovely

A late-night musing before I go off to study chemistry.

I have many types of friends.

I have the friend who messages me regularly to make sure I’ve eaten and slept.

I have the friend who knows exactly how I feel and exactly what to say to make me feel better.

I have the friend who gets me into all sorts of trouble, but always manages to get us out of it somehow.

I have the friend who messages me life updates long-distance.

I have the friend who shouts my name whenever we pass each other in the hall.

I have the friend who pats me on the shoulder and says, “Hello, dear.”

I have the friend who tells me I’m “such a sweetheart” and that I’m a welcome face.

I have the friend who shares a very strong mutual interest that we can’t stop talking about.

I have the friend who laughs when I procrastinate and says, “This is why you can’t have nice things, June!”

I have many friends, and they are all lovely.

Why Scientists and Artists Should Stahp Already

At the University of Nerds and Premeds, most of the people you run into are science majors. A casual sampling (by asking everyone you encountered what their major was) would show you that our university is made up primarily of chemistry, biology, psychology, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and physics majors. The occasions that you run across someone not in the science/medical field, the next question you think to ask is where they’re from. (“Oh, you’re a Spanish major? Cool! Where are you from?” “About fifteen minutes north of here.”) It seems that most of the humanities/not-science majors are locals.

At the same time, UNP is a big proponent of multiculturalism and well-roundedness (like, erm, most colleges these days, I guess). Thus, there are language classes offered here that other colleges in the state could only dream of having (*ahem* Japanese not 101), events that you’ve only heard about taking place minutes from campus, and a stiff humanities/fine arts/social sciences core requirement that all majors have to meet. The diversity of campus outside of this, too, is astounding—it’s hard to walk across campus and not encounter someone who is bilingual. For someone who loves people and language, it’s extremely interesting.

Yet, you sometimes get the impression, talking to many people in science or its related fields, that humanities majors are foolish, largely useless or less intelligent. A lot of artists/humanities majors seem to think scientists are overly-analytical, exclusive and cold. I’ve witnessed it first-hand in the person who casually flaps their hand at high marks in Spanish and literature but praises good grades in math or science, and second-hand in stories of Finn’s professors who grade their science-students-turned-obligatory-humanities-students with a vengeance. There seems to be a noticeable divide between the two fields, and it makes anyone proficient in both feel a little out-of-place, no matter where they go.

To use myself as an example, I’ve been writing since I was five or six years old. (I have every notebook that I wrote in from age six to age fifteen, when I got my computer, and there are enough of them to fill two dresser drawers.) I took years of Spanish in elementary, middle and high school, and loved every minute of it. I’ve been studying Japanese on my own since I was about sixteen. I draw, play instruments, and love colors, books, and people. Yet I’m here at UNP as a chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry.

People here who know me think that’s… well, weird. My fellow natural science majors, for the most part, hate writing, would rather not have to take enough foreign language to fulfill the core requirement, and are appalled when I forget a decimal point or doodle a picture of a molecule in the corner of my lab notebook.

Yet, having strengths outside of math and science has put me at what seems to me to be an unbelievable advantage. I have no qualms with giving presentations, writing essays for chemistry, answering word problems, visualizing molecular geometries or hybrid orbitals, understanding three-dimensional calculus concepts, naming alkanes, understanding comparative biology or drawing things seen under a microscope. Because I like writing, drawing, communicating, and language, I’m better at the things that a lot of other people in my major have trouble with. It’s not because I’m particularly skilled in either realm, either—it’s just that they cross over in ways that I didn’t anticipate, and those points of intersection are where I take a breath and enjoy doing exactly what I’m good at.

I know other students who have noticed a similar pattern in their academic lives. Most of us who are humanities-people-turned-scientists are doing a lot better overall than we thought because our interests and proficiencies aren’t confined to one subject. This is the primary reason I favor well-roundedness and requiring science majors to take some humanities (and humanities majors to take some science)—it really does help you out a lot.

In light of this, I’m a lot more secure in my major than I was at the beginning of the semester. I’ve learned to stop thinking of subjects as confined in little boxes and to think of them, instead, as woven into a tapestry of connections. Biologists don’t pretend not to need chemistry, and chemists don’t pretend not to need physics, but if you think about it, calculus and biology need visualizers, chemists need conceptualizers, and all scientists working in labs need communicators and writers.

Yet, a lot of humanities draws off of science and technology, too. As Finn said, “There’s no use teaching people how to use [insert film-related technology here], because it’ll improve by next year.” It helps a writer to be able to navigate a word-processor and computer, a film student to know that the sun freakin’ changes position in the sky during the day *ahem*, and artists to know anatomy. On a less obvious level, writers can’t write accurate fiction without knowing how the human body works to at least an extent (try writing a chase scene without understanding how adrenaline affects the body) or without understanding basic scientific concepts specific to the genre (SciFi writers, obviously, should understand whatever scientific principals they employ, but writing a post-apocalyptic novel is difficult without knowledge of nuclear fallout, viruses, etc.). Artists, too, benefit from brushing up on their science for the same reasons, and need geometry to draw things with depth. Translators become much more marketable with knowledge in another field, such as science or math.

That’s not to say that there’s not an obvious difference between the two fields, but rather, to say that it’s surprising how often the same principals or skills are employed in both fields. I can’t imagine taking calculus II without being able to visualize vectors and three-dimensional space the way I visualize a sketch before I draw it, nor can I imagine writing persuasive English papers without the analytical skill to pull apart a subject and sew it back together that I use when reading scientific papers. People skills are unbelievably handy in chemistry lab (“Hey, would you mind grabbing me a graduated cylinder while I get the hydrochloric acid? Awesome, thanks!”) as well as in Spanish class. Rational pattern-seeking is exceptionally useful in Japanese (She said that word in this context, then in that context—by process of elimination, it probably means this) and mathematics in general.

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is simple—science and humanities are more interdependent than proponents of either subject seem to realize. The thought that Sapphire and I articulated about biology and chemistry applies to the rest of the academic realm, I think. “They need you, but they make what you do meaningful, and vice versa.”

From a chemistry major who’s been told by many people to change majors because I don’t belong where I am, Science and Art, “Please stahp fighting.” Can’t you two just admit that you love each other and move on with your lives?

I think that would make every student a little bit happier. ^^

Old Pictures We Will Never Live Down

I was sifting through the photos on my iPad last night while Sapphire was reading a fantasy book on her phone. What I found once I got past all of the mundane college pictures made me giggle manically. They remind me of old times (and things our kids will be able to hold over us, probably.) I told Finn I was going to post them—I didn’t lie, did I?

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This one is the least horrible—in fact, I think it’s rather cute, honestly. ^^ What boy could resist Scout’s boy-catching face when she was wearing a Burger King crown?

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Finn found the box his church set up to collect stuff for him to take to college with him. When asked why he climbed in it, he responded, “It was my box, dangit!”

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Unhappy Finn is unhappy about Sherly and I making him go on the Tower of Terror three times, and we know why.

(You did this to meeeee!!!)

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This is what happens when Finn is late for a movie we agreed to see. (There are more where this came from, but this one was my favorite.)

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Natalia, my sister, is the most attractive person on the planet, bar none.

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No objections will be accepted.

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A meme my other sister, Katniss, made and saved to my iPad.

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I had never made a duck-face before. I feel I succeeded.

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Actually, this one is relatively recent. This was both amusing and disturbing.

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Finn and Eric’s sister is the queen of boy-catching faces. (I actually really love this picture; it always makes me laugh. If Pinky wants it taken down, though, I can delete it.)

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Another of Scout’s boy-catching faces, and proof that she is unable to actually look legitimately unattractive making faces.

Sorry, guys… Are you ready to kill me yet? I mean, I know most people don’t put embarrassing pictures of themselves on the internet, but I do what I want!

Long Walks in Subzero Weather Make Me Sad

It’s the beginning of a new semester at the University of Nerds and Premeds, and Sapphire and I are bemoaning being subjected to the torture of having to walk twenty minutes across campus in record low temperatures for our state. Sherly, who lives where snow and violent storms of every variety are the norm, undoubtedly thinks the entire city is being a huge wuss.

It’s difficult to walk up stairs at the Humanities building for the students huddled, trying to keep out of the wind, on every floor. The condensation on dorm room windows is enough to blur the ink on pages of spiral-bound notebooks left on the windowsill. Japanese 101 students learned a “weather word” not scheduled until the end of the year (samui!!). Commuter students are calling in late or absent. Starbucks is selling out of hot coffee at record speeds.

The cold weather, however, only managed to delay the inevitable. School has actually started back. I arrived on campus Saturday night, and Finn and Sapphire appeared Sunday. Campus restaurants are puttering back to life, and students who worked here over the break are grumbling about having to wait in lines and share elevators. RAs are trying to redecorate the halls with a New Year’s theme. Professors are rewriting syllabi with spring dates.

I’m not sure Sapphire and I are ready to be back yet, and I know Finn isn’t thrilled at all. We spent all of last night denying it—FaceTiming Sherly, watching My Cousin Vinny, playing with plastic Daleks and TARDISes and eating stolen candy—yet, class still started this morning, albeit two hours late. Yet, I’m not terribly unhappy with the schedule I’ve got so far; at least I can write a blog post instead of running between class buildings in the freezing cold.

To everyone whose classes were not delayed because the city they live in isn’t a weenie, I applaud you and give you my condolences. To those of you still waiting to go back to school next Wednesday or smirking as you watch cancellations on the morning news, just know that it’s coming.

It’s coming. And you will not escape.

I’d better sign off now. Calculus to run to, Starbucks to buy. I might get a Frappuccino. Sure, it’s minus six outside with windchill, but you know what? I do what I want!

(Just kidding. That would totally kill me, and taking advice from other people is generally a good idea. Still, you understand the sentiment.)