It’s okay to study something different

Op-eds Opinions

Second annual Biomedical entrepreneurship day highlights academic diversity across campus — and that’s a good thing

Stock image accessed via Pixabay.

As someone handed me a lab coat and a pair of goggles, I thought to myself: I do not belong here.

With blistering white light radiating from the ceiling, along with both red and green liquids sitting on shelves, all I was trying to do was to avoid causing a chemistry explosion.

In my three years of undergraduate studies at UVic, I never stepped foot in a science lab — that is, until I attended UVic’s Biomedical Engineering Entrepreneurship Day (BEEP). It’s safe to say that I felt well out of my comfort zone.

“There’s occasionally an explosion — we are testing chemistry, here!” said the lead scientist to my tour group.

“WARNING: BIOMEDICAL HAZARD” signs hung on the beige walls, as groups of students huddled around machines I won’t even try to name. They worked mostly in silence, tinkering with the machines and dropping multi-coloured liquids into different beakers.

It was an exhilarating (yet slightly terrifying) feeling to watch steam pour out of beakers and scientists trying to figure out how different chemicals react with each other. Even though I had no idea what exactly was going on, or what was being tested, it was fascinating to step out of my realm of study and into the world of science.

University is for exploring your own passions and excelling at your own talent.

Science has never registered well with me. I remember failing countless math and science quizzes in high school, and coming home cursing the world for making me so dumb. When I passed Physics 11 with 52 percent, I thought my chances of attending university were done for.

After touring the science facilities for BEEP earlier this month, however, I realized that it’s okay to be different.

University is a breeding ground for diversity, for people to explore their own fields of interest and passions.

Watching those scientists, I realized that not everyone is made the same, and that everyone has their own talents and skills.

When people ask what my major is I always reply sheepishly with Creative Writing, and usually wait for the accompanying laugh or chuckle.

I used to think studying writing was a cop-out, a degree for people that aren’t smart enough to be in the sciences. When I’m with a group of my friends, most of whom are in engineering, math, or science, I’ll often think of myself as the dumbest person in the room.

But in the lab, I realized that this is what university is for: exploring your own passions and excelling at your own talent.

Within a community, there should always be a delicate balance of graduates from all different academic fields.

There are so many different areas across campus where people can hone their respective crafts. Take the Fine Arts students studying writing, drama, or visual arts outside the Ring, the English majors nestled near the Library and in Clearihue, the social science majors around Cornett, business entrepreneurs at Strong and the BEC, and science-minded students at the Bob Wright and Elliot buildings.

University is a microcosm for the larger world itself.

Within a community, there should always be a delicate balance of graduates from all different academic fields — as well as factions who’ve chosen other routes outside of traditional school..

Life would be boring if everyone was brought up the same, and had similar interests. That’s  why instead of feeling bad for wasting my (and some of my parents’) money studying Creative Writing at UVic, I have come to realize I will graduate with a degree and hone my given talents and skills like anyone else on campus.

And while I may not save the world by making a groundbreaking formula to cure cancer, I’ll be happy if I can just make people smile and think deeply about important topics through the art of writing.