Stepping Out of My Subject-Comfort Zone

Coming into WashU, I knew exactly what my strengths were. I was determined to make the most of what I deemed myself to be good at — and this meant that I would be sticking strictly to a writing-intensive, language arts-related course-load. Or at least something that didn’t require nights spent on deciphering math problems and science concepts.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy math or science. It was simply that I wasn’t as comfortable with them as I thought I was with the humanities. However, just a few weeks before entering my freshman year, I made a huge leap out of my comfort zone and decided that I was going to try my hand at PNP … and on the neuroscience track, no less.

This meant that my hopes for a completely STEM-free schedule were shattered. That first semester of freshman year, I took Gen Chem (which I thoroughly enjoyed, despite the many hardships that came with it) and realized that it wasn’t exactly my passion. In fact, that semester was filled with experimental introductory classes such as Intro to Psych and Problems in Philosophy: two classes based on two subjects that I’d never explored before. I realized that I was becoming even more unsure of myself and the major that I’d decided to try; though PNP is a wonderful marriage between the humanities and the natural sciences, I found my lack of writing-related courses that first semester unsatisfactory.

One of the most notorious rooms on campus … Lab Sci 300!

Thus, second semester of freshman year rolled around and I jumped into it with the intention of completely enjoying myself through practically only writing classes. Four out of five of my courses were of this nature, which meant that I was doing completely the opposite of what I’d done the previous semester. And yes — it was absolutely amazing … but I still felt like something was missing.

When sophomore year rolled around, I decided that — since the majority of my adjustment period had passed — I would combine all that I’d learned during my first year and make this one a good one. Thus, my schedules consisted of Writing classes, Psychology classes, Philosophy classes, Neuroscience classes, Music classes, Korean classes, and even a Computer Science class. Many of these were not courses that I thought I’d ever take before I came here. In fact, it took a lot of thought and (sometimes) reluctance to even commit myself to taking these courses, as I didn’t feel comfortable with the material.

One of my classes this semester is in the engineering building … who would’ve ever thought?

However, if there’s one thing I learned through this, it’s that everything is worth a try. If someone had told me that I’d be taking this many STEM classes in college, I would’ve rolled my eyes. And if someone had told me that I’d like taking these classes, I would’ve been even more appalled.

College is all about leaving your comfort zone and trying new things … and this applies to the classes you take as well. Even if one of these courses ends up being the most challenging thing you’ve ever done in your life (and trust me; this may happen), at least you’ll be able to say, “Well, I did it.”


Pictures used throughout this post do not belong to me.