April 22, 2015
All Faculties of Thought are Equally Important
Guys, please respect each other.
note, the following is extremely poorly written… Tl;dr at the bottom
I entered McMaster in 2011 into the Faculty of Engineering. I ended up there because 1) I was naturally good at Math, Physics, and Chemistry (and science in general I suppose), and 2) my mom pushed me to enter university in fear that if I waited, I would not make it (first generation immigrant problems, and so I picked the “best” of pretty meh options, and 3) I knew that science (all STEM, really) = money, and I wanted to support my poor immigrant family.
I spent the first few weeks doing well. I killed my first round of midterms. Then I felt the existential crisis. The same recurring one that always strikes. I didn’t enjoy my academics, and I didn’t feel like chasing it just for money was worthwhile. Yes, I felt the need to support my mom, but god damn did I hate it all. So I slacked… and my grades slipped, slowly, and then quickly.
By the second semester, I had become a failing student.
By April, I had given up.
My GPA was terrible, but I had the option of transferring to a different program, so I decided to switch to Social Science into an Economics degree. Why? I remember out of all my courses, my elective, Microeconomics, was really interesting (and really easy).
And so I switched from Eng to soc sci, a big jump I suppose.
When I was in eng, I felt this suffocating air of “Superiority” in the faculty. This overwhelming arrogance that emanated from many of my peers screaming “we are the best, and everyone else is inferior”. Of course, “people” said that the Commerce kids, and the Health sci kids were the same, but at the end of the day, Humanities (/artsy) kids, and Soc sci kids were getting bashed.
I remember the recurring joke of “You’re a hummer? Good luck at Starbucks!” and similarly distasteful jokes implying the worthlessness of non-STEM, Business and Health degrees. I wish I had more examples, but I really just felt some sort of unnecessary friction between faculties, and it was truly disturbing.
The Contradiction and Idiocy
People! We all need each other. We are deeply intertwined in society.
I’m going to briefly describe, without the aid of Google, what I believe the different faculties mean, and why I believe they are important.
Business: Selling shit. For some reason, I can’t see business and commerce as anything other than perpetuating Capitalism and Profiting. I view it as ugly, buy really, I have no idea what business is. This kind of seems hypocritical given the purpose of this blog, but overall, I just think our (economic) system boils down to us selling shit and creating externalities in production, consumption or somewhere else in the chain that ruins the environment… i guess this is for a different post. In any case, Business is selling shit, let’s just ignore the negativity for now lol.
Engineering Making shit work. Applying science to make useful things, or do useful things, or make things better. Civil, chemical, nuclear, materials, etc. idk, I just feel like engineers are the designers of awesome technological things. The modern day technological inventor of sorts. My plan being in engineering was to “create something novel and awesome and become rich off it, so that my mom could retire, and I could devote my life to doing what I REALLY wanted to do”… obviously that didn’t happen.
Health Sciences The betterment of human health. Biomedical eng I guess fits in here too. But anything involving prolonging human life, or fixing our ailments. Other than the obvious curing of illnesses, it may involve prosthetics, working towards introducing the ability to create new adult teeth, make new eyeballs, whole organs, etc.
Humanities Art. Showcasing the beauty of life. Film, movie, music, visual art, etc. Anything that involves capturing the essence of humanity, of emotion, of narrative, etc. Humanities make our lives interesting, or study it
Science The betterment of humanity. I feel like science overarches all the other hard sciences (eng and health sci)… it can involve chemistry, bio, physics, whatever. Anything that studies the matter and material around us. Science gives us telephones, radio, telescopes, microwave, internet, iPhones, whatever… or maybe it’s engineering. whatever, they make awesome things.
Social science The study of humanity! Is history under humanities or social science…? I think humanities… anyway, soc sci has poli sci, economics, sociology? uhhh… I actually have no idea what programs fall under here. Anyway, I think that soc sci studies the behaviour of humans, whether the systems of political governance, or economy… blah I’m tired.
WHY IS EVERYTHING IMPORTANT?
Here’s a simple example… Business makes saleable goods – makes it possible to own an iPhone.
Engineering designed that rollercoaster, or the iPhone, or your computer, ok.. maybe it was science too.. idk.
health sci! the eye surgery I’ll need. I’m not even going to bother with health sci, if you don’t think it’s important… bleh
Humanities. Remember that movie you watched? That video game you played?
Soc sci: I just explained that prostitution cannot exist because humans are evil and there will be those seeking to maximize profit: if their is money to be made and the costs are low enough (as they are, and have been), then prostitutes will be taken advantage of, and human trafficking will occur.
Lastly, as a deep aside, but similarly related to the importance of respecting the work of others: stop looking down on people. I remember growing up thinking it was “dirty” or “shameful” to work as a custodian, or a garbage man, or a plumber, or a sewage worker, or a McDonalds/Fast food employee, etc. You know what? We need all jobs, careers and workers in order for our world to run smoothly. You may deem some people’s work as dirty or “low-skilled” but there is no need to make them feel bad for it. Not only do some people lack the privilege of attaining more, some people are afflicted with poor histories/upbringing or generally poor life events. I find it upsetting that we look down on others, as we could have just as easily be born as them. I don’t think I have a bleeding heart, I think that others may be a little too black or cold.
Oh, and last tangent: homeless people! Do you know how they ended up on the street? Yes, some of them are assholes, but others just got the short end of the stick. Never treat a whole group of people like shit, just because a few bad eggs. I will extend this blog to include race, gender, sexuality, etc. another time perhaps…
TL;DR, Humans are reliant on each other to create meaningful and better lives. No faculty is inferior or superior to another. We are all equally important. Respect one another’s work.