One of the things that first attracted me to the Space Studies Program was its inter-disciplinarity. I liked the idea on paper, but in practice I figured that it would be lip-service and that the bulk of the program would in fact consist of science and engineering.
But no, as it turned out. To my pleasant surprise, I am getting a full education about the business, policy, and medical aspects of space travel, as well as the various applications that satellites have to our day-to-day life.
And then, of course, there are the Humanities.
Our Humanities lectures have thus far all been taught by an elderly, charismatic and outwardly-cynical curmudgeon from Hawaii, who possesses a talent (common amongst successful Liberal Arts professors) for making controversial statements in a way that forces the class to think. His motto is that “any idea about the future which doesn’t sound ridiculous is worthless.” As I think you’ve probably surmised, I am quite fond of him and his lectures.
But Friday’s lecture even more so than usual. It was an absolute barn-stormer on the subject of the influence of space on art: paintings, dance, poetry, film, television and especially literature.
And there I was, sitting in the classroom, jotting down notes, when it suddenly just clicked in my brain: I want to do this.
I want to study literature academically. Quite possibly as a career. And it occurred to me that in fact, this is what I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve felt constrained by ideas of practicality and of course, what other people expect of me. And now, at the age of 26, having just completed an advanced degree in mathematical physics and owing ten thousand dollars in debt, I am seriously considering diverting myself into a completely different (and possibly very difficult) career path.
I suppose that makes me an idiot.