Among college students, spring term is often pervaded by a phenomenon known as the ‘February Funk’. The pairing of consistent sub-freezing temperatures and seemingly endless snow with the increasing rigor of coursework is enough to make anyone want to crawl beneath the covers each night and wish that hibernation was a possibility for our species.
But we trudge on and give it the ol’ college try! The knowledge alone that these are some of the most formative years of our lives is enough to inspire us to start taking vitamin D supplements, buy happylights, and carve out our names into a carrel in the library.
The ability for sophomores to begin declaring majors has also defrayed the effects of the funk. This otherwise forgettable past week was filled with a flurry of activity. Days ago I officially declared my majors in neuroscience and behavior (known as ‘NS&B’ to all the cool kids) and economics!
Professor Mike Robinson, in whose lab I currently work as a research assistant, agreed to be my major advisor for neuroscience early last month. We snapped the picture above after a marathon session in the lab, just as Robinson was planning to head home to his wife and two small children.
As for economics, good old Richie Adelstein of New Nest fame will serve as my advisor. I’m looking forward to hearing him dispense more libertarian knowledge in the coming years as I struggle to find my political identity in the microcosm that is Wesleyan University.
Choosing these majors, however, was no easy task. I began my freshman year with a strong desire to study environmental science, a plan that was scrapped within a few weeks of that fall semester. I was far more concerned with employment opportunities after college in the coming ‘green revolution’ than with my enjoyment of the subject I was studying.
Though I considered the natural sciences to be very near and dear to my heart, ‘passionate’ was the last word I would use to describe my feelings toward geology, never mind mineralogy. Keeping in mind one’s future job prospects is perhaps more pragmatic, but I didn’t want that to dictate the next four years of my life.
What followed was a period of indecision and self-searching. I took courses that explored the realms of philosophy, history, and art. I even considered myself a nihilist– gasp!– at one point. But with Richie at the helm during my introductory economics course, I learned to love what is still known as the ‘dismal science’. Meanwhile, with Mike’s often witty presentation of the most important topics in neuroscience, I knew I’d found my calling.
The coming years will surely be filled with many more milestones– the completion of my first triathlon, my graduation from medical school, the birth of my first child– but this event marks a stepping stone unlike any I’ve experienced before. The path I’ve envisioned for my life is finally coming into focus. Indeed, the future looks bright.