In my studies this term, I have come across an unexpected realization which directly relates to my future career plans. At University of Rochester, my home institution, I am a double major in History and Molecular Genetics. I started off my time abroad in London, studying history with an amazing IES Abroad professor and one other student from my Oxford program (as per the Oxford tutorial style of learning which encourages independent study). We spent our days immersed in the history that we were studying, walking through the streets and passing the homes of an uncountable number of famous thinkers and revolutionaries, each fitted with a round blue plaque on the outside to commemorate their previous inhabitants. The museums were filled with an unfathomable wealth of history which our hours of study could barely scratch the surface of.
It was all very fascinating and I was grateful for the opportunity to witness the wise and enthusiastic discussion of my companion and tutor. After all, I am studying history for a reason; I love learning about people and uncovering the surrounding pressures that drove the course of their lives. Still, I could not help but feel a bit distanced from it all. And here lies the realization that there is a great difference between interest and immersion. Moreover, there is an even greater difference between interest and impression. Basically, I realized that I was out of my comfort zone. References and connections flew over my head and I realized that it is easy to read with interest to the extent of personal paper writing but a subject that leaves a true impression on your mind drives further exploration. Immersion (not necessary just physical, but also intellectual) and impression are necessary in order to make relevant personal connections and are the basis of passion. Without them interest is possible but emotional response is difficult.
Then I and a few of my friends went on the IES Abroad trip to Cambridge. There, on a tour in the course of a few minutes we visited the pub where Watson and Crick announced the discovery of the structure of the double helix, along with the laboratories of Ernest Rutherford and J.J. Thomson. On that tour I finally understood the excitement that I had been observing in others as we passed those little blue signs in London with the names of people who, I regret to say, I sometimes did not even recognize. This had a two-fold effect; one one hand, I realize that I need to have more personal investment in history in order for my studies to be meaningful. On the other, this further validated the subject of my career choice. I feel a much stronger personal connection to the study of science. I feel like I can discuss it more meaningfully and passionately with others and, although this does not make it a simpler path, it makes it more personally compelling, which I realize is very important.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Samantha Loria is a junior Molecular Genetics/History double major at the University of Rochester in Western New York. She is an Irish Dancer, loves music and learning from all kinds of people and is going on the adventure of her life at Oxford University! She plans on soaking up all the culture, knowledge, and nature that she can handle and here, in this blog, she will seek to pass along all of the wisdom that she encounters, the emotions that she feels, and the incredible sights that she sees on this great journey. Come, explore, and learn!</span></p>