DANG these people are smart!
It was last Friday night in the Buttner Auditorium, and that phrase just kept running through my head. I was there supporting my friends who participated in the STEM program who were culminating their experience with a presentation of the internships they did over the summer. And boy were they incredible! I would attempt to describe some of the work they did but honestly I wouldn’t do it justice so please don’t hesitate to go find one of them and ask.
I can see you wondering though, “Adrienne if you’re not going to tell us about the STEM talks then why are you writing an article about them??” Fear not, this article has a point. Albeit a bit self-centered, (how I am going to manage to turn an article about other students’ projects into one about my own feelings will probably amaze you) I promise my intentions are pure.
As I sat and digested the oodles of knowledge that was being thrown my way, I began to feel pretty stupid. And not the, “I can’t spell definetely” kind. The deep, solid kind that sort of sits in your stomach and whispers “you could never do this” in your ear. Don’t get me wrong, I love science, it’s just never come naturally to me, and the words my friends were speaking were making little wooshy sounds as they flew over my head. That is to say, I couldn’t imagine a universe in which I could ever understand them.
But then Henry Abrahamson said something unexpected. When asked what he and Ronil Synghal did day to day, he replied “Oh yeah, the first month was really just us trying to figure out what was going on and learn all the required math.” What? Their presentation was fantastic! How is that possible? I thought to myself. Later on in the evening I asked Sophia Durney about how much she already knew going into her internship, and she said that she had to do a lot of reading and that it was a little while before she totally knew what was going on. Not only were they initially confused, but they were willing to admit it! I was feeling silly again, but this time because I had doubted myself. The moral of this story is not “you can do anything” because I don’t have great eyesight and NASA probably won’t let me be an astronaut. But it is probably best summed up by rapper Macklemore in his song “Ten Thousand Hours” when he says “the greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint, the greats were great because they paint a lot.” The students in STEM worked their butts off this summer. Not everything made sense the whole time, especially at the beginning, but they kept working until it did. And then they did a really scary hard thing which was stand up in front of their community and share. I didn’t need to feel dumb, but inspired by their accomplishments! I don’t know that I would have been as successful had I tried the program, but I do know that not trying something just because I don’t think I can do it is not a very good reason.
P.S. I signed up for SciOly! haha. Maybe I’ll write a follow-up if it goes well! (Or probably even if it doesn’t)
STEMers — Maya, Maggie, Nina, Sophia, Tara, Ronil, Sanath, Henry, Nathan, Carver