• Merci Valdivieso

Different Fields of Study

Aurora, a fourth-year illustration student at NJCU, and Yasmine, a third-year medical student, are two people in very different fields of study. It piqued my interest to learn more about how they experience their education. What do they do day in and out? How much can they possibly differ from one another? How much do they have in common?

Yasmine and Aurora begin their days around the same time, one more begrudgingly than the other. What they choose to bring to class, though, suits their majors quite well. Yasmine is mandatorily obligated to bring his lab coat to wear during labs, where they perfect the art of adjusting microscopes. A laptop feels unnecessarily large, so he opts to use a classic notebook and pen. Aurora, swamped with work, brings her iPad and Apple Pen to take notes with (and possibly do homework while the professor is talking, but you didn’t hear it from me.) Their different workloads also reflect their different areas of study. Aurora, a case study in five-hour studios and part-time jobbing as a barista, uses any amount of free time to do her extremely long projects (“I was in the art room, the moldy art room, for almost nine hours, sitting down in front of a computer trying to make a poster.”) She takes breaks whenever she becomes frustrated by playing rhythm games and is otherwise inaccessible. For this interview, she squeezed me in between her 3:30 class and 4:00 meeting for a group project. To memorize all the anatomy, theory and ethics that he needs, Yasmine uses the Pomodoro method, where you study for 25-minute intervals with five minute breaks, listening to K-pop to stay stimulated (“I don’t understand why they’re saying, so my brain isn’t focusing on the lyrics.”) Besides studying, Yasmine seems to have significantly more free time than Aurora, using it to play video games or go on walks. His exams are not to be envied, though. Having to know a bone and its exact orientation, as well as being able to identify certain growths on its surface, is not fun. Yasmine had to learn to love medicine. After enduring rants about their mutually useless STEM classes, I asked Aurora and Yasmine if they had any final words to the public. They both said the same thing: Remember, no matter what your trajectory in life is, you are human. “Doctors don’t know everything. There’s a reason there are specialists,” Yasmine stated. “Your future doctors are very behind in school. Take care of yourselves.”

“Realize that artists are people and not deadbeats that don’t deserve praise and recognition,” Aurora said. “It’s not talent, it’s hard work.”

Rule of thumb? Be kind to people, even if they’re a STEM major.


Art by Tien Servidio