Tag: passion

“‘Working for the Knife’: Mitski and Academics” by Chris Hope

Indie singer-songwriter Mitski’s popularity has skyrocketed since 2020, which is somewhat of an anomaly for an artist whose most recent album was released in mid-2018 and whose last performance prior to that had been announced to be her last performance ever. Her 2018 single “Nobody” achieved popularity online, but until 2020, her popularity remained more insular. This can be attributed to many things, whether it be her excellent songwriting, her often melancholy lyrics speaking to people living through quarantine, or, funnily enough, TikTok trends. Continue reading

“Electives: Off the Beaten Path” by Jenny Gloyd

Imagine you are in the photograph above. You are taking a hike on a beautiful day in Newark. The birds are chirping and the sun is dancing on the path in front of you. The best part about the hike is that the trail is a loop, so you don’t have to think too much about the direction in which you are going. Before you know it, you will end up back at the start. Deciding on a college major is, in its simplest sense, like this hike. Once you choose a major, let’s say a biochemistry major, for instance, there is a predetermined path to take in order to be handed your diploma. Each biochemistry major needs to take organic chemistry, calculus, metabolism, etc.

But if you hiked this trail often, you might wish that it wasn’t so straightforward. Hiking in a loop does not leave much room for exploration or adventure. Indiana Jones trailed through the rain forest and needed a bit more direction than, “follow the dirt path in front of you.” In a similar sense, having every student take the exact same set of courses doesn’t feed this sense of adventure. At UD, we have fortunately accounted for this inclination. The College of Arts and Sciences, the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, and the College of Engineering, like the rest of the colleges at the University of Delaware, all require breadth courses. In fact, at almost any university, students are expected to take classes that are off the beaten path. 

From theater, to studio art, to economics, to math, you may not cross paths with these subjects if it weren’t for this requirement. These classes may prompt you to pick up a minor. Maybe you really enjoy modern dance or public health. Or, it may reaffirm that you are going down the correct path (don’t worry, that C- in philosophy won’t count towards your major GPA). Regardless of what part of your college career these classes contribute to, they will provide you with experiences that you might not have had otherwise. 

I learned that I had a passion for singing because of an elective in high school, and this colored my choice of breadth courses in college. I personally have gravitated towards classes in language and music, taking history of rock, choir, and linguistics. Although it’s entirely possible that another biochemistry major has taken history of rock or linguistics at some point, all of these classes were ones that biochemistry majors don’t particularly need in their career-oriented skill set. The major takeaway here is certainly not that every chemistry major needs to develop a keen sense of music or language, but rather that they should  experience a broader variety of what is out there is to learn. 

A professor of mine once leveled with their class: “I know this is not a subject that you may care about, but many others care about it. So, please give me 30 minutes to explain this perspective.” The class was, of course, absolutely happy to listen to the lecture. I think we all understood that even if it was not our core interest, it was an invaluable experience to learn something that was not in our expertise. 

So, next time you are hiking and you see an overlook, or a tree to climb, spend some time climbing that tree, or paying special attention to the view of the forest. In other words, if you see a class you might like to take, but it’s out of your comfort zone, take the chance–you might learn something that you’ll carry with you forever.

“Holding Knowledge in My Hands” by Felicia Seybold

I looked down at a box-like scientific instrument, called a transilluminator, glowing with ultraviolet light. On the viewing panel was the representative product of my whole semester of study: a single, floppy, square piece of polyacrylamide gel with a few blue-stained bands of proteins on it. An experienced laboratory technician probably runs several of these acrylic gels a week in a process known as SDS-PAGE, but this was the first time I ever did this technique myself. The Fall 2021 semester marked the beginning of my junior year here at the University of Delaware, as well as an exciting part of my course work in molecular biology: upper-level laboratory classes designed for hands-on learning. As insignificant as this gel was in the grand scheme of things, I still remember the accomplishment I felt at that moment and how the career path I had picked out my freshman year finally started to unfold before me. 

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“Changing Paths” by Brittany Connely

When I first arrived at the University of Delaware, I was bright-eyed and hopeful for my four years ahead. It was the moment I had always been waiting for, what had made all the late nights studying and staying in on the weekends worth it. I was prepared to work hard towards my dream of becoming a doctor, something that, while difficult, I had to achieve. I wanted to prove those who told me I would never make it, wrong. Continue reading

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