8:30 am and Comp Science, wow. What a combo to get this English/Politics major out of bed! Yum. As I ate cherry Halls for breakfast on the walk to Carnegie, I was feeling surprisingly chipper for a lecture on Fiber Optic cables (I am only 75% sure that was what the lecture was on – I am still waiting to hear back from an email). How did I get here?
Sid Kondapuram is a third-year Computer Science student and is the editor-in-chief for this paper, and we began chatting after a weekly production meeting. The conversation most likely consisted of me complaining about myself having put off an essay. I could be the beloved benevolent tyrant of Procrastination Nation if such place existed. He politely asked what my paper was on that I so grossly put off. I then proceeded to show him the poem that I was analyzing for my “Experimental Poetry” class. He was a tad shook.
He showed me his note book. I also too, was shook.
So, we agreed that the best course of action would be to immediately email each of our profs and ask them if we could attend each other’s classes. It sort of felt like asking your parents if your new friend could sleep over for the first time, and they said yes, no questions asked. Exciting… yet you are nervous because you may find out that you, and everything you love, is actually completely lame in someone else’s eyes. But off to Canadian Literature with Dr. Barrett Sid and I both went.
My group and I had a presentation on a poem by Robert Kroetsch called Are We There Yet? Feel free to giver ‘er a good old google, but all you need to know about it is that it’s a postmodern poem about the Prairies. Classic English department day-in-the-life. Whatever Sid says – I gave him the upper hand because my class started at 10 am – you’re welcome, and no required reading, again, de rien.
The general impression I got from my computer science turned English nerd for a day was positive. He reportedly enjoyed the discussion that we had on the poem, that everyone was highly encouraged to speak, so much so that he felt as though the class was too short.
He answered, “of course not”, to the last question (above).
I then prompted him share what he didn’t like, and I promised that I wasn’t (according to conversation over Facebook messenger) “going to cry about it”.
He said what a lot of other students believe about English: students are left with no “marketable skills”. I’m going to of course disagree with this, but he is absolutely right in one respect, that we are not awarded with hot buzz words associated with our degrees that are given post-graduation to others.
Have I honed the same abilities that a Business student has? No, of course not! They have skills that I don’t possess – and vice versa. What science, arts, and professional studies students may fail to see is that where one student may have a weakness in, the other may have a strength. That we are allies in the same fight to make the world a place that is a little easier to live in. Employers that have successful operations hire employees with a variety of approaches to problem solving skills. That comes with a variety of education.
With fear that I will sound like a complete granola hippie, I will say this – if you only think of your life in terms of what your next job will be, then you may be starting a life stifled from the start. Have a long-term goal, then work backwards from there. Think of your career towards success, whatever the definition of success may be to you. Mine, of course, include materialistic things that will require a steady wage and hard work as well: owning a dog, a living space, a car, enough money for me to eat nice cheese once a week, to try the “Something New” every time there is a new flavor at Annapolis Cider Co. as often as I want, owning another dog, traveling, and of course one more dog or possibly another dog. Either/or will work.
Sitting in the computer science class was a great reminder that the real world is lurking around the corner. That the tangible is what makes a profit in “the real world”. But, what I remembered is that theory is based on the tangible and inner workings of reality as well, and that unfortunately I didn’t take Sid to any of my theory courses (stupid me). All disciplines are needed in order to make the world go-round, that they are dependent on each other. Sitting in that class reminded me that I was in the programs that I should be in. I do hope that other students have had a moment like this at some time in their academic career. That was 10 ply bud, but get over it, I mean it.
Many believe that arts students want to evade the responsibility that careers offer. We want a slice of that Canadian Dream as well, and want to thank and give back to those who have supported us to make it to post-secondary studies, and work hard just as other students do.
How I can best describe this experience overall to is the section in tabloids where they show celebrities doing normal things, the “stars are just like us” page. We have totally different goals, expectations, experiences, learning approaches, but we all want to be happy and successful at the end of the day, and still need to pick up milk from the grocery store from time to time. We all just want to be as happy as Leonardo DiCaprio squirting a water gun (I’m begging you to google that one).
I am very sorry to say that I retained close to nothing from the comp-sci lecture. There was a part about different types of cables, the speed of data, and ermmmmmmmm – sorry, Mum and Dad, for being a disappointment! I am leaving with high praise to all those in Computer Science and degrees they value, much love!
Jesus! Did I say it? Or as I just thinking it? I stared, eyes glazed over, at the presenters as they discussed a Robert Kroetsch poem, and its subsequent introduction of ideas about postmodernism to mainstream Canadian literature. There aren’t many times I’ve felt so woefully out of my element. This notion seemed to come, and fade with every new presentation in the class. There probably wasn’t any point berating myself for not doing my due diligence with researching these meta concepts before I sat in on the class. Maybe some concepts will always be just inches away from my grasp. And after sitting in on the class I realized: that’s okay. There is an enormous multiplicity of knowledge to life. If you spend your entire life worried about what you don’t know, you’ll never use what you know. But don’t ever be the poor fucking bastard that dismisses a differing knowledge as irrelevant solely on the basis that it’s different. Don’t be an ideological xenophobe.
I’ve always felt ‘safe’ in Computer Science. Well, maybe not safe, but increasingly capable of drowning out the rest of the world. Go to class. Do assignment. Hand in. RINSE. REPEAT. There was no spot in the list for expanding my knowledge on structural ideas about art and literature. Now I feel incredibly ashamed of myself for not knowing more about this. There’s so much beauty in these abstract concepts, and every one of you Science majors should read more about it. Take a Philosophy/English/Poli-Sci class, and don’t do it solely out of a need for a credit. Do it for yourself. If you cheat yourself out of learning, you will spend the rest of your life resisting new ideas and concepts. The same goes for you, Arts students. Take a Computer Science/Math class for fun. Do it for fun. You will find the orgasmic feeling after solving a particularly complex problem intoxicating.