The school year has begun, and I’m thrilled. Some people are excited to get out of their parents’ house and go back to being on their own. But I’m excited about classes. I’ve missed doing work.This first week, I was handed a math assignment and various worksheets for my language classes, and it was awesome. I’m trying to start this year out on the right foot. I’ve LaTeXed up my math lecture notes. (Don’t know what LaTeX is? Do you want to have your math homework printed? Check it out!) I’ve already started my homework. I have spent hours holed up in front of my computer, banging away at the keyboard to make pretty symbols appear on the screen. In fact, I was so absorbed in my work that I almost forgot to turn this article in.
There’s this stupid little proverb out there, something along the lines of, “find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” However cheesy it is, and no matter how much proverbs annoy me, it makes a fairly good point. I am known to be so engulfed in my work that I will go 14 hours without eating because of differential equations. I don’t even like differential equations as much as other math. But it’s math. I love proofs. I love watching them unfold on the page. Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing that little Q.E.D. box at the end of a solution and being proud of the facts expressed above it. I constantly hear people complaining about papers they have to write or projects they’ve been procrastinating on and don’t want to do anymore. Granted, there have been days when I’ve pushed my work to the last second and felt that my brain may explode, but I was never unhappy that there was work. I was disappointed in myself for time management, but I never wished there was no math homework.
You have to find something you love to do. If you need to fill a requirement, try to do it with a class that you’ll love. If there’s no way to avoid it (see the horror stories of orgo), get it out of the way as soon as possible. If you find yourself complaining about all the classes relating to your major, maybe you’ve picked the wrong one.
I’ve known that I’ve wanted to study advanced mathematics since I was ten. While side interests have changed (creative writing, French, Russian, literature), math has never faltered for me. So when I hear my peers being unsure about their majors, unsure about if they are attached enough, I realize something: Why the hell are you in college?
Yes, college is an experience. Yes, it has become a rite of passage in our culture. Yes, a bachelor’s degree has become the new high school diploma. But if you don’t know why you’re here, I suggest you sit down and really think about it.
You’re (probably) at Hopkins (because how many people not in Hopkins read this News-Letter?), one of the most prestigious universities in the country. This is a globally well-known institution. You are shelling out a fair amount of cash (if not you directly, it’s either your parents, loans, or scholarships) to be here. You had better know what you want to be doing.
Now that you have survived the paragraph of parentheses and may have been offended by me snubbing students who have not declared a major, think about this thought from Fight Club: this is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. Make it worth it.