Conquering the S-Word

Mondays. Nobody loves them. I can’t say with 100% honesty that they’re my favourite day of the week, either. On Mondays, I wake up at 6:30 (ish- it depends how long I can pretend to ignore my alarm clock) and by 7:30 I’m on the subway to Glendon. At 9am every Monday, I have a test for Science, Technology and Society Studies (STSS). I’m usually still half asleep and clutching a large Earl Grey from Tim’s like it’s the secret elixir of life (it kind of is).


So this week, when our prof started handing back our first tests of the semester, I felt sick to my stomach. I’m a draft-and-redraft kinda gal. I like coursework. I like to edit. I like to sit with my writing, willing it into coherence. For me, an essay isn’t getting really good until my eyebrows start resembling caterpillars. For me, every essay is an experience not dissimilar to childbirth. Time-limited test conditions are not my cup of tea. They’re not even my splash of milk.

The thing is, STSS is one of my Gen. Ed courses. I didn’t even know I had to take electives until midway through frosh when I finally landed an Enrolment appointment. And it wasn’t exactly good news at the time.

My heart has always belonged to words. I like books, poetry, language, stories of any description. As a child I would read everything from National Geographic to Harry Potter to the back of a shampoo bottle to a collection of Arabian fairytales I found in a Glastonbury charity shop. I developed a reputation in high school as “the girl that writes stuff” and you’ll find me in the yearbook under “most likely to become an author”.


Numbers, however, were never my strong suit. Maths and Science just don’t come naturally to me, and as a child I was mortified about it. I was used to understanding things very easily. So instead, I just categorised myself as a Word Person. Unfortunately, I slowly started to categorise myself as a Stupid Person, too. My best friends and favourite people are ridiculously, mind-bogglingly intelligent. Two years since we last saw each other I still get handwritten letters from my Cambridge graduate Archaeologist friend, the girlfriend I’ve known for over ten years is finishing her Psychology degree at Oxford, and the morning after a night out with my two Engineering pals and a Physicist friend, I found circuits drawn all over my notebook. In amongst such dazzlingly bright and incredibly lovely friends, I nicknamed myself the token English student. I accepted that English was the only subject I would ever be really, really good at. The reality is that I love learning, but I hate admitting it when I need help. Now, as an adult, I’m working on it. But still, anything with Science in the title will keep me steering a wide berth. That is, until now.

When I was faced with a list of General Education courses, my insides froze up. I panicked. I knew immediately that I was going to fail the course, my family would disown me, the universe was going to implode. Obviously, this was going to be a disaster.

Funny story: it wasn’t. STSS is actually one of my favourite courses. It’s fascinating, relevant to everyone’s life and the state of the world today, and it isn’t a mishmash of graphs and numbers and symbols. And what’s more, it’s teaching me to step outside of my comfort zone. It’s teaching me to expand my horizons. Never in my wildest dreams would I have considered taking a course with the dreaded S word in the title. And yet here I am, enjoying a three hour class on a Monday morning. Who’d have thunk it.

And that test I got back? Yeah, your girl got a 93. And nearly fell off her chair in shock.


2 thoughts on “Conquering the S-Word

  1. Pingback: Dear Future Jasmin | Tea & Textbooks

  2. Pingback: #GLsuccess : Taming The Saboteur | Tea & Textbooks

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