Get with the Program!

0
11

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ver wonder what life would be like if you had chosen to study a different subject — maybe business instead of communications, or even visual arts instead of molecular biology? Well, we interviewed some students and tried to get a sense of what these programs are like. As there are a lot of ways to move through a program, this is just a small window into those potential experiences. Maybe we can all find some small way to relate:

With Duchamp you learned, ‘Anything can be art.’ Now explain it to your family. Everyone knows someone in art school and many would study it if they had the time. You made the time. Learn from others, then be different. Figure out how to talk about your work, distinguish Artspeak from English and develop fluency in both. Look at the material choices, define the subject, be critical, be inspired . . . Now discuss work, learn from each other and organize a group show. Considering every choice, constantly stuck between being subtle, and being obvious, it isn’t obvious how to get funding. Who doesn’t want to know what you’re doing after you graduate? Make a gesture, hang something, paint a surface, create a noise, release a shutter, and do it all over again, looking for an answer. Admit the truth, It was never really going to be finished was it? Solving things and improvisation become second nature. You’re not sure what you’re doing. You’ve got an idea.

VISUAL ART

vector_artist

With Duchamp you learned, ‘Anything can be art.’ Now explain it to your family. Everyone knows someone in art school and many would study it if they had the time. You made the time. Learn from others, then be different. Figure out how to talk about your work, distinguish Artspeak from English and develop fluency in both. Look at the material choices, define the subject, be critical, be inspired . . . Now discuss work, learn from each other and organize a group show. Considering every choice, constantly stuck between being subtle, and being obvious, it isn’t obvious how to get funding. Who doesn’t want to know what you’re doing after you graduate? Make a gesture, hang something, paint a surface, create a noise, release a shutter, and do it all over again, looking for an answer. Admit the truth, It was never really going to be finished was it? Solving things and improvisation become second nature. You’re not sure what you’re doing. You’ve got an idea.

COMMUNICATIONS

vector_cmns

Be critical of the outside world, in your head and on the page. Get accustomed to writing, reading, researching, and condensing ideas. It’s not a one way street, be creative and approach things from your own unique angle. Find a focus. Look at what’s new and developing, what’s familiar, what’s passing, and figure out how to understand it. Live with being second hand in new media, writing, and business, but appreciate that you bring them all together. You’ve heard anyone can do it, but know it takes more than open mouths to communicate ideas across mediums and forms of thinking. It’s not what you expected, is it? Step back and view the whole picture, recognize conflicts, problematics and avoid pessimism along the way. Learn to reconcile economics, sociology, psychology and culture, and decide how we can relate to each other in a meaningful way. Use that critical lens, and look at the public sphere, at Marx, at capitalism. Supplement the theory with practical learning, supplement with another program. Be critical, get a job, and ask yourself what you’re doing. You’re unsure, but you try, you learn.

HISTORY

vector_history

You went from figures, numbers and names to cause and effect, then entered a realm of complicated interrelated events, ideas and agents. You read, in an attempt to understand and make sense of how we impact each other, read more. Along the way, learn to distinguish between primary and secondary sources. Now incorporate photographs, oral recollections, and consider the environment and its non-human subjects. Research and ask the right questions. Weave sources into a narrative, and find a thesis along the way. You know objectivity is out of date, and have come to terms with thinking critically about everything. Read some more, revisiting literature and taking it apart. Recognize who benefits from a particular narrative, and identify subjectivity. Reconcile all this while explaining there’s more to what you do than museums, or conspiracy theories. Discover the line between history and current affairs. Look at things differently, find an untold perspective, then ask, why?

CRIMINOLOGY

vector_crim

Learn to approach your subject from multiple viewpoints and perspectives, building your interpretation on the theories of crime. Figure out how to reconcile theories and beliefs along the way. Do it over, and over, and over. Grow frustrated with opinions based on assumptions, biases and misunderstandings — everyone has one they’d like to share. Then move that struggle to the realm of public policy and the media. Get used to reading, growing familiar with legal jargon, reports, proceedings, and law codes. Revisit the theories, go back to reading, and write it all out. Progress or punishment, social development or isolation, restoration or revenge? Remember the theories, then develop and describe the terms of justice. There’s more to your future than just lawyer, police officer or criminal, though apparently not everyone got that memo. Figure out how to listen to the silent, to the victims, tearing down barriers rather than tearing down people.

GEOGRAPHY

vector_geography

It’s more than just a drawing, more than just a map. You’re in a mixed field with lots of approaches, bridging society, science, and economics. Be interdisciplinary, then focus on something, deciding between humans, landforms, spatial data, or our environment. Learn how to interpret information and adapt to it, making plans and proposing ideas for moving forward. Look forward to that post-exam learning trip, what’s the destination this time around? Read and write, incorporating various ways of thinking. Recognize potential mistakes in an attempt to understand the structure of cities, how they work, how they move, how they lie still. Follow the water, look through the soil, and explore the ecology. Analyze the land underlying our existence and infrastructure, through its timeless process of change. Collate large amounts of information along the way, then visualize the data in an accessible way. Manage it and present it, growing your skills with each passing attempt. Understand where you stand, where you want to go, then figure out how make it there.

BUSINESS

vector_business

Everyone’s always impressed with your degree choice, from a financial standpoint at least. Thought the focus on money, value, productivity, and investment return doesn’t always make friends. Get excited about the opportunities to be involved, to grow. How do you plan and where do you begin? Learn to prioritize, learn to say no. Love the bell curve, or at least learn to live with it. Jump from concentration to concentration, orphaning spare courses and doubling concentrations in the process of figuring out where to commit. Compete and differentiate yourself along the way. Exist in an incubator, very integrated to the outside world and the business community; a part of and apart from the University. Get some experience presenting and working as part of a team. Be pressured into co-op, into competitions, and get used to comparisons and being judged against your peers. Be ambitious, be realistic, compete. Are you sure you did enough networking?

ENGINEERING SCIENCE

vector_eingeneer2

Build around problem solving. It’s assumed you’re smart, but those 2:00 AM nights at the lab where you’re stuck with no solution make you doubt. Apply numbers as part of a larger framework, it’s not arbitrary when it’s part of a system. Though there’s an imbalance and the odds might be good for everyone, they can often be odd. Geekiness goes around, but there’s unacknowledged diversity underneath it all. Figure out how to be social in large groups or small groups, where you fit in and where you don’t. Learn to know your lounge, your lingo and your E triple S, then feel the pressure for co-op, knowing there’s no option. Can you write? It’ll get you places ahead. Ask for exemptions, wait for approvals, then do your 12 credit minimum anyways. It’s all or nothing in your field, when you commit your soul there’s no space for electives. You know the frustration, but you also know that feeling of epiphany when things finally come together. Work together — you’re not in it alone.

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY

vector_biology

You work at small scales, trying to comprehend the processes of life. The laboratory takes you hostage. Time spent in it, time spent preparing for it, learning back material for it, agonizing over it, and putting it all together. Don’t just learn to live with the lab, learn to live it. Perceive subtle social cues when you talk about your work, from suspicion, to admiration, to confusion. If general science is removed from society, you’re one step further. Understand ethics, and learn to follow through on every detail through to perfection. You will fail, it will hurt. You move on.There’s more to your aspirations than just white coats and fancy titles, but there’s also a lot of pressure in the way. It’s a personal journey, but also part of a bigger picture. You’re not alone in trying to unwrap secrets and attempting to finding solutions. Can you publish? Understand research papers before nurturing cell cultures and tending to your equipment. Develop new knowledge, and then cross reference it for potential. Now replicate results.