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For the love of science.

"One particularly interesting line of thought examines the difference between originality in science and originality in art — a refreshing complement to last week’s tangential musings on the subject by Mark Twain and Henry Miller.
    If I discover a scientific idea, surely someone else would’ve discovered the same idea had I not done so. Whereas, look at Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” — if he didn’t paint “Starry Night,” nobody’s gonna paint “Starry Night.” So, in that regard, the arts are more individual to the creative person than a scientific idea is to the one who comes up with it — but, nonetheless, they are both human activities.'"
- Neil deGrasse Tyson on why we’re wired for science & how originality differs in science vs. art from Brain Pickings

Sometimes, a part of me still wonders what would have happened if I never stopped liking science - or more accurately, if it never stopped liking me.

They may all seem alienating now, but there truly was a time in my life when physics, biology, geometry, and everything else in between fascinated me. Not that they don't anymore. It's just that reality somehow got in the way, leading me to a point where regardless of whether or not I still find the said fields interesting, I'm not equipped with the skills to appreciate them the way they should be appreciated.

In high school, while I recognized that I was never the best in math or science, and that those will never be my expertise, I considered myself somewhat good enough in them - or at least interested enough to want to learn about them, even when my grades did not always reflect that. I loved physics class. I looked forward to our bio experiments. I also enjoyed algebra and geometry a lot. In fact, I found myself more likely to pursue a a course in the sciences rather than in the arts. In our career assessment exam, I had industrial engineering come out as the second ideal course. (First was accounting/economics, third was humanities/social sciences.) So despite the apparent difficulty I did have with the field, I was sure the feelings I had for it will always be mutual.

But chemistry and statistics ultimately ruined it all for me. Since the second year, I never got the hang of balancing equations and connecting bonds between dots, even when I tried hard to stay awake in class by connecting eyes with our Chem professor (and eventually our Biochem professor in the senior year). And in my fourth year, I ended up hating any colored ball because of the questions that go along the lines of, "If a box had 3 red balls, 5 yellow balls, and 2 blue balls, what was the possibility..." Blech.

This antagonism unfortunately happened in the last few years of high school, when choosing our courses became almost inescapable. Despite my brief excitement over calculus thanks to Cady Heron's "The limit does not exist!" epiphany in Mean Girls, it was a relief for me to finally say goodbye to the sciences upon entering college. A huge relief.

Besides, I felt it was a much braver move, going against the norm and pursuing the arts. English and literature has always been my favorite subject, no contest, so to go to that field would prove to be satisfying, albeit unconventional for most. I remember one teacher, with a sour face, asking me, "Why Creative Writing?" To which only the voice inside my head could reply, "So that I wouldn't have to deal with all your f*ckin' chemicals, b*tch!" (Although I don't think I was that profane then. Haha.)

It's still sad though that a lot of people, myself included, feel this alienation and go through this stage of suddenly having to choose between sciences and the arts. I'm certain they can go together, and I really think they should. But there has always been this mindset that you're either this or that - you can't be both, or you can't be in between. And yes, I used to think I could prove that wrong: that being good in humanities doesn't mean you can't be an awesome physicist. It still saddens me, I guess, that I have fallen victim to that statistic.

So when college happened, it was as if I was on this conscious effort to prove the sciences wrong - that they were wrong to push me away, that they were wrong to judge me so quickly just because I didn't always get the hang of solving things. I had finally found mutual respect and love from art. And while it also hasn't been a smooth-sailing ride, it was nice to at least be nestled comfortably in a seat of words and rhythms, patiently waiting for their meanings to unfold to me on my own pace.

But every once in a while, my hidden/suppressed love for the sciences still emerge, albeit in random ways. Like taking Physics10 (it had everything I loved in the subject without the computation! Just the concepts! Which I had no problem in reading about!) or acing Math1 and Math2 (more practical maths). Or randomly reading about theories, laws, and how stuff works in Wikipedia (lately, more about engines and cars - for obvious reasons). Or unconsciously being attracted to Engineering students who talk geeky to me. (Heehee.)

I have long accepted that my "left side" will never be as dominant as I once thought it to be. I'm now fully aware (and grateful) that it's the "right" that gets the job done for me most of the time - and I cannot be more glad. I have found my greatest comfort and strength in stringing together feelings in sentences, rather than equations in solutions. But I guess, and I hope, that the "left" will not completely go away. I find that there is much strength to be found in the attraction of the arts and the sciences, and that there is but a small, fine line that separates the two. I guess I've come to the point where I know that while I can no longer speak the language of the sciences, it doesn't mean I cannot understand it. And I also now realize that just because art is fluid and relative, it has no space for specifics and detail. Seeing them come together makes sense - I just wish both of them cooperating in my head isn't too much to ask for.

I hope I never lose my interest and skill in the field of science and math, even in the most basic extent. After all, it did get me through the recent wave of exams for law school. And I'm sure that won't be the last time I would need that same push. I'm still crossing my fingers that one day, I'd still get to prove the theory wrong myself: yes, there is a place for poetry in physics, and that there is precision and accuracy, even in prose.