Culture, Life

This is how it feels to be pulled between science and humanities

In the end, we need both to progress and keep balance.

When I was six, my mom gave me Matilda by Roald Dahl to read and I fell asleep reading it.

A few days later, I picked it up once more. This time when I read it, I found myself so lost in the text that my mom had to tell me to stop and go to sleep or I wouldn’t be able to wake up the next morning – so began my love for reading books, which then led to an interest in illustration and my love for literature.

More importantly, I decided that when I grew up, writing would be my profession. There was something about creative people that I wanted to emulate, their ability to transport you anywhere in any time, like some sort of time machine super power.

I didn’t waver from that decision even when I heard stories of “struggling artists” and “living in a box” all over media. However, when I was 15, I started thinking practically and chose the Sciences path for my future instead. Let me be clear though, by “practically”, I don’t mean you can’t make writing your career and be successful. I meant that there were two things I loved studying – biology and literature – and I thought if I took Sciences I could continue to enjoy both things.

What no one tells you, however, is how difficult it is to fit into both the sciences and humanities groups at the same time.

As my tables filled with books on chemical reactions and the cardiovascular system, my books filled with poems and paintings. During exam season, while watching a video on organic chemistry for the hundredth time, I would paint flowers in my books. During vacation, when I painted and wrote every day, I also bought a book on genetics to help fill a void. And while my science friends mocked subjects like literature and sociology, my humanities friends rolled their eyes at the sciences, saying that the belief of only a science path leading to a successful future was increasingly frustrating.

Many students who take the science route consider those who take humanities to be wasting their time. This is because many people equate success with earning money and argue that the sciences route will give them access to such jobs. As a result being, a science student is thought to be something to be proud of while humanities as something to be weary of.

As ridiculous as it is to belittle what one likes to study is, unfortunately it still happens. And being somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, I’ve had a chance to experience both fields and their attached stigmas.

Why can’t everyone simply respect whatever others choose to learn and dedicate their time to?

You can be a scientist who enjoys fictional stories or a painter who runs a website about different scientific theories. In a world where being a Youtuber is now considered a legitimate, full-time profession, it’s silly to continue to believe that the only lucrative profession to pursue is within sciences.

Personally, for me, the ability and need to write while being a science student was vital. While studying in school, I made sure to involve myself in clubs, societies, and random competitions of writing. I applied to The Tempest and got to write articles about anything I’m fascinated in, even if didn’t relate to my studies – this is how I kept my balance.

And if you think about it, really, shouldn’t these two things go hand in hand with each other?

To understand emotions, people, and feelings, you need history, you need sociology, you need literature. To understand how things work, to progress, to advance, we need to involve ourselves in its scientific aspect. We might not realize it but we need both to keep the balance.