Wednesday, 08 July 2009

My Personal English - Science Dichotomy

When I was in Matric, I had this plan. I was going to study well, but despite that, my Science mark would be higher than my English one, so I'd know I should study Science. It was a really nice plan, right up until the point when my English mark turned out to be significantly higher than my Science mark. Oops.

I was back to square one: do I like English or Science more? The question's just about impossible to answer, though. They are both super-awesome fields. I mean, music and drama and cinematography and pure maths and teaching would all be really fun to study, but I can see that English and Science are much closer to what I should study. It would make me happy to learn how to edit movies, but it would make me unhappy not to learn about spherical trigonometry. (I know. I'm a nerd.) The problem is, it would also make me unhappy to not learn about why it matters whether or not Shakespeare was Catholic. Unfortunately, most universities don't offer double majors in English and Engineering. Seriously, who doesn't want to double major in those?

Once I had finished being thrilled about my English mark, I was very glad that I'd decided to take a whole year to decide what to do next. It turns out that the year was exactly what I needed, although not for the reasons I expected.

At the beginning of the year, I was supposed to sign up with UNISA for a couple of courses. For complicated reasons, I was never actually signed up. For probably the first time in my life I went for several months without being told to do maths or science. (Okay, maybe the second time. I guess I didn't do much Physics as a newborn.) I didn't like it. I didn't make myself do maths either, though.

Writing, on the other hand, I do make myself do. Very often, 'make' is not a good term, because I actively want to write. The obvious conclusion is that my active desire to write should win out and I should study English. The thing is, even though I won't make myself learn spherical trig unless there's an external deadline, I'm still unhappy when I don't do it. So I need to subject myself to the pressure of studying Science. I know that I'll read good books and keep writing and read about writing pretty much no matter what happens.

So when I start doubting myself I remember all that. Then I remind myself that most of those lovely, lovely science books were written by people who studied Science. I think, briefly, that maybe I could even study English and Science, somehow. Then I remember that if I do Science I'll get to do spherical trig, analysis and other exciting things and meanwhile I'm already learning about Shakespeare and writing technique. Mostly, I try to focus on the spherical trig.

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