When making the life-altering decision, choosing which college to attend, one would presumably choose a place that is populated by students with interests similar to your own. With this in mind, life at UR may prove a little tricky, considering the student body is virtually divided into two different worlds.

We all decided to attend UR for different reasons. While some people chose to come here because of the unique curriculum and its great flexibility, others were attracted by certain departments and then there are those who just sort of found themselves here by default. We all have different backgrounds, interests and aspirations, but no matter what reason you opted for, everyone, or at least most people, falls into one of two categories – the liberal arts major or the science major.

It’s a well-known fact that UR is notorious for its vast number of chemistry, neuroscience, biology, biochem and all the rest of those natural science majors. If you dare venture into the Carlson Science and Engineering Library during finals week, you might get your head bitten off by a swarm of strung-out, stressed, over-caffeinated students trying to memorize combinations of carbons, atoms and the like.

Considering UR is one of America’s great research universities and is only a five-minute walk from the highly acclaimed Strong Memorial Hospital – one of the top 10 primary care medical schools in the country – UR is undoubtedly a prime location for students interested in pursuing a career in the field of medicine or medical research. I admit, I almost considered not coming to UR because I was worried that there would simply not be a sufficient number of classes and programs to satisfy my particular academic interests – literature, writing and other interesting humanities courses. Although I was assured by students and faculty alike that even the students who were not on track to becoming a doctor were perfectly happy with the programs and course selections, it was still a daunting thought that I would be seriously outnumbered by those of the scientific persuasion.

My initial impression of the school was not completely false, but I did discover that UR had more to offer than I had originally expected. I found that there was an abundance of courses and majors available to please almost any area of interest. There were English, religion, language, philosophy and psychology classes galore. There is even an alternative natural science – brain and cognitive sciences – for those of us who need to fulfill that natural science requirement but wouldn’t dare take chemistry or physics.

It is also refreshing to come across people who not only enjoy the same areas of academic interest as you but also share in some of your sentiments – particularly dislike of the subject area unrelated to your own. Quite often though, you’ll come across those who openly show distaste for your major.

Usually, the science mass complains that the humanities crowd doesn’t work as hard. I find this very offensive. Just because my head isn’t buried in a 20-pound textbook, it doesn’t mean I’m not studying as hard. It just means that I won’t have chronic back problems when I’m older because my books are a fraction of the size.

I was utterly shocked when someone actually ventured so far as to try to convince me that English is the drinking major and I don’t work half as hard as him – a mechanical engineering major. This is a blatant lie.

We may not have to write up lab reports or do webwork, but we have endless hours of reading, just as much memorization and we agonize over writing papers which test our ability to extract crucial information from texts which can sometimes be so long and convoluted that after reading it multiple times you’re still left in the dark.

Oh and guess what? We have exams too – hard ones that require just as much preparation and studying as those biology exams.

Despite your inclination to defend yourself the next time someone attacks you and says you don’t have a “real” major simply because you don’t have any classes on Friday – just laugh and think about how you get to sleep in while they’re up by 9 a.m. trudging through the snow on their way to a fun-filled day of learning about valence shells.

Our campus is divided into two different worlds and seldom do we effortlessly all get along and peacefully coexist. To those who find themselves strong enough to break the barrier – I commend you.

Weintraub can be reached at aweintraub@campustimes.org.

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