While you’re reading this, it will be my second day in the Dhirani Lab of U of T’s Chemistry Department (assuming my lab mate and I don’t blow anything up on our first day). I’ll be working in this nano structure materials research lab until April 2019 as part of the Research Opportunity Program (ROP) . However, this isn’t about the ROP Program (stay tuned for a future post!); this is about my thoughts on where my degree will take me.
In the Classroom
The following conversation went down in one of my classes last week:
Prof: “Why do we need Vector Calculus?”
Student A: “For a U of T credit!”
Jokes aside, why are we taking it? I’m sure you’ve seen a multitude of jokes about “Y trying to find its X” or “If I orbit the Sun 500 times, how many chicken nuggets will Billy have?” (a cookie for whoever comments the right answer).
Wanna know how magnetism works? You need Vector Calc.
Wanna research ocean currents? Hey, you need Vector Calc.
Climate change? You guessed it, Vector Calc.
Of course all the applications above are interdisciplinary and have people from various fields of the arts and science working together but the point is, someone needs to know how to crunch the numbers.
In the Lab
After CHM151 in first year, the tedious lab reports that took hours to complete – analyzing data and finding reference materials to support my findings was my first taste at university level lab work. Right now, I plan to continue my studies at the graduate level for research but since I have a few years before crossing that bridge, I’m going to see how much I actually like conducting research in the ROP lab under the guidance of a post-grad student and my professor.
In the Field
During the summer, I went on a field trip to the Redpath Sugar Refinery with AlChemE and ILead. Although I am neither in Chemical Engineering or in Engineering at all, I saw an ad for it and had always wanted to see what goes on inside a sugar factory. Even though I felt a little out of place being an ArtSci student, it was a nice trip to get advice from current Redpath Engineers that are U of T Alumni.
On a Larger Stage
Next month, I’ll be spending two days on Parliament Hill, part of U of T’s Women in House Program. My knowledge on Canadian politics, let alone politics, is almost non-existent but as I become an adult, I believe it’s time to get a gist of how our country is governed. I can’t wait to see how members of parliament from many backgrounds work together, just like scientists, to represent their constituents or division to formulate decisions that maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
At the end of my degree, I hope that I’ll not only be well versed in my field of study but also know enough about those around me that I’d be interacting with at some point in my life. I’m not sure whether second year courses have shown me more real life applications or if I’m just getting better at making connections between the content of all my courses, but I’m starting to feel like the imposter syndrome that plagued me in first year is fading and that I’m growing as a student and more importantly, as a person.