What Type of Major Is Hardest?: A case study
By Anuraag Girdhar And Gina Greenwalt, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, September 21, 2012
8:00 a.m.: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for,” John Shedd once said. I will get out of bed today. Something ineluctable, something visceral is about to happen today. I wonder how the clouds are going to look. White shrouds wrapped around a pale torso, the sunlight streams through in distinct rays: ocular perforations. Oh, I remember now. I have to deliver a written discourse today.
8:17 a.m.: The shower is cold. I should not have woken up so early. I am like the Dao. I am the hole in a pot; I am nothing, but without me, the pot doesn’t exist. I guess I’ll just have to take a longer shower. Until the stuff of showers fills me and makes me warm.
9:43 a.m.: Apart from the fact that I now have the approximate shape and complexion of a sun-dried tomato, that was incredible. But I need to write an essay today. On Faulkner. “20th Century American Literature.” Munificent only with his commas and semicolons, grammatically pristine and torturous to read. All in all, an outstandingly bad writer. But I have to talk about the damn Compsons and their role in Faulkner’s canon. Withhold judgment.
10:00 a.m.: “The Sociology of Emotion.” Hmm. The professor wears sharply square, thick-rimmed glasses and a neatly trimmed beard with no mustache. Well-suited for teaching this class, if only by appearance. “... how we’re socialized to experience emotion the way we do.” He looks like the type who’s been at a funeral and unable to produce tears. Makes sense. It’s nice that we have classes that approach such topics objectively.
11:19 a.m.: Breakfast. Chocolate croissant and skim latte at KAF. Ugh, sometimes I wish I could color in round lettered bubbles that command core factoids of my knowledge. Impersonal. Thank goodness I took that shower.
12:41 p.m.: My exam. “Professor, it seems like this prompt requires two interpretations.” “That’s perfectly fine, Tesla. As long as you make a coherent argument and take an intellectual risk.”
1:30 p.m.: “I have no idea when I’ll actually finish grading your essays, but it will assuredly be before the beginning of next term. Until then, I suppose you can wish very hard that you get an ‘A’ and try to will it into existence.”
1:52 p.m.: The fates conspired in my favor and only gave me one class on Tuesdays and Thursdays this term. Which means I’m finished with classes. I have to review the latest issue of the Dartmouth Law Journal, read a slam composition with the Soul Scribes and watch some films by Godard and Truffaut. Much better than the mundane monotony of labs. Pre-meds.
3:00 p.m.: A filamentous fortune bequeathed, A foghorn sounds over the Atlantic, Crushing, roaring, tumbling, a commune is forged The arsonist is unseen and unheard.
5:30 p.m.: It’s no wonder those two are regarded as the harbingers of modern cinema. And with such stormy lives. It’s a shame their dispute ruined their later careers.
6:00 p.m.: The clouds are still gorgeous. It feels nice to be on the Green. Oh look, it’s another science major, lugging 12 stone worth of textbooks, utterly devoid of substance. Poor soul, it looks like she didn’t get any sleep. Anyway, I think I’ll head over to the stacks and spend my night with some old novels.
8:00 a.m.: There are a lot of mornings that rejuvenate you. Mornings that make you look out at the clouds above Baker Tower and smile before succumbing to a sudden, strange desire to change your Facebook status to some vaguely motivational Latin phrase. But it is 8:00 a.m., the textbook I woke up on left an indent on my face and a 50-question quantum chemistry exam will kick my ass in approximately three hours. Carpe f*cking diem.
8:17 a.m.: 14 chocolate-covered espresso beans are part of a balanced breakfast. Three chapters reviewed, two to go.
9:43 a.m.: 27 chocolate covered espresso beans is not a balanced breakfast.
9:45 a.m.: KAF’s calling my name — it will be heavenly compared to my note-covered room, and I can just read this last chapter in line...
10:00 a.m.: I TAKE IT BACK. KAF IS HELL ON EARTH. All I want is a sandwich. Just one. Why are there so many people here? Why are all of them seemingly coming from the gym and carrying no textbooks? Isn’t this a school?!
10:24 a.m.: “Sorry, we’re out of sandwiches. We have the jalepeno cheddar spread left and —” I hate everything.
11:05 a.m.: Update — jalapeno cheddar spread is also not a balanced breakfast.
11:55 a.m.: Silsby, Carson, Dartmouth Hall? 5-minute walk. Life Sciences Center? 2 years.
12:41 p.m.: My exam. “Professor, it seems like both answers could be correct in problem six...” “It’s a multiple choice question, Morrison. One answer is correct, the rest incorrect. That’s it.“
1:30 p.m.: “You’ll have your grades back by Monday at the latest.”
2:00 p.m.: Friday’s not done. Nothing but affection for the last chemistry lab of the week — and the cross campus hike I am blessed with. Again.
3:00 p.m.: Lab.
5:00 p.m.: Lab.
5:30 p.m.: Still here. In lab.
6:00 p.m.: Finally outside on the Green. Wow, the clouds are actually quite nice. And it’s so peaceful here, so quie— Wait, is that guy talking to himself?
Tesla: “I wonder what makes old books smell so good...” Morrison: “Lignin, which makes up the secondary cell walls of woody plants, produces vanillin in a slow oxidation reaction. That, my dear, is what makes those old books smell so good.”