02 November 2006

What's going on?

Very few things are happening. But today, I'm just going to talk about an isolated incident, then connect it to the whole picture: Physics major.

It comes up over and over and you probably think think there's a slight nuance of narcissm to it and you're right. Except it's not slight.

Today my MCAT classes started and I tried my best to suppress many facts about me, since most of the people in there are mouth-breathing pre-meds anyway, it would be best if they didn't know what my major was, an inquiry that usually leads to other more personal numerical inquiries. So I sat there, without doing anything active, just patiently took notes and didn't even bother to answer the questions he (instructor) was asking, making him think we were all tards. Oh, I should mention, Class 1 = Physics (Units, Kinematics, Projectile motion. I will let you ponder on the difficulty. Kantan desu ne!).

Back to the story. I just sat there, no answering of questions, not even altering the facial expression. Stoic, stoic, me. Alas, time was nearing to a close (20 minutes left) and he assigned some practice problems. In my infinite stoicness, I looked at the problems, looked up and had the answer a couple of seconds later. The instructor had a good habit of placing time limits on the problems, so once I had the question answered in my head, I looked up at the clock and started counting seconds, seconds that I would deduct from "time call" to give a rough estimate on how much faster from "optimal pre-med" I was completing these problems. Since they are not heavily computational, a typical problem proceeded like this- 10 seconds into it, I had the answer, 11 seconds- I was staring at the clock. Stoic? Yes. Completely. By the third question, I realized he'd been looking at me for a good amount of my clock-viewing time. When time was up, he immediately asked "You must be engineering?".

This is the part that I loved in the beginning, but now am starting to hate - "No, I'm Physics." Some girl asked how he [instructor] knew and he said "He's doing the problems way to fast to be anything else". Many people would say "Oh wow! That is something certainly worthy of praise." or "Congratulations". You know what this means? Glares. GLARES. Everyone else looks, everyone else looks for me to fail. Since the material on Physics isn't getting any harder, I probably won't fail miserably, which will make them bitter and bring out the worst of the pre-med nature in them. They hate competition, these people and in the worst possible way, because they're lazy. I don't like competition, because I might fail. They don't like it, because they'll actually have to expend effort.

In the beginning, people would ask my major and I'd say "Physics" and they'd say something like "oh wow" and I'd think "Yes, yes. Quick. Give me a brownie because I deserve one for being Physics". But now, it's fucking annoying. Various replies I've received that piss me off:
  • "Oh wow, must be hard!" No shit. Get off my case, please. This statement usually implies "Why are you doing this to yourself?" - answered below.
  • "Well all the biologists think Physics is common sense" I love this one, because it usually comes from people that have no clue about Physics. Of course, once they take it, they have trouble with the simplest of 'common sense'.
  • "Your son must be smaRT!" (to my Dad, me standing ~1m away) Say it once, and my Dad will refute it in his own cryptic way. Say it again, you've been marked for deletion (aka, you're pissing me off)
  • "Jeez that's so nerdy" Yes. Yes it is. So? You're either a nerd, or you work for one. You know all those gizmos that make your life easier? Well some nerd invented them and to appeal to your pagan tastes, some very very RICH nerd invented them. Nerds are better people, upper crust of society. Get used to it.
  • "I feel sorry for you..." Why? Because I do something that I like? Usually stated by people who have absolutely shitty (aka liberal arts) majors. Since LA majors don't really have "life goals" or "academic interests", anything that remotely requires "writing" or "writing equations" is painful and can never be interesting. Eat shit, you fools.
  • "Why would you do that to yourself?" One of the many MANY reasons why I'm still in this discipline is because it's damn difficult. It's good to be challenged and pushed to the limit. People that ask this usually have easy majors and proceed to pursue the proverbial "college" life. Why would I do this to myself? Yes, it is painful at times. But when that TIME rolls around, you know, when the admissions council looks at your transcript and then at mine and sees that for the same GPA, I can tell you discrete quantum states of the hydrogen atom and why paramecia can regenerate, wheras you can only muster up remnants of the word paramecium (no doubt due to all the alcohol consumed during the pursuit of this proverbial "college life"), they'll make the call and you'll get shafted. In the eternal cosmic play of things, balance is not only a requisite but a fact of life. Finally, when you clear up enough doubt to ask yourself why it happened - just know this - You were probably took weak, too slow, too stupid and lacking too much foresight to actually confer a challenge upon yourself. Now get me some coffee.
  • Multiple variations on #1
Stop with the patronization. Just say "that's nice". If you wish to be even more polite, ask me how something works. We're bustling with random pieces of trivia. One more thing. We can probably do everything except heavy manual labor:

Hold up conversations? Check.
Select appreciable jewlery? Check.
Be outgoing and friendly? Check.
Philanthropy? Check.
Overall awesome people speckled with chunks of conceit? Check.

Biology is memorization. Chemistry is microphysics. This is where renaissance-men are made.

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