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When I first met my friend’s brother, she accented my introduction of myself with her own comment: “She’s a science geek.” Her impish smile assured me that “science geek” was meant to hold positive rather than negative connotations, so I laughed and added, “Yeah, that’s true.” I still felt oddly ambivalent about her categorization of me, though. “Emily is a science nerd” sounds so taxonomic; an organism can’t be both a Phoenicopterus ruber and a Giraffa camelopardalis, so does that mean that I can’t be both a science nerd and a Francophile?
The University of Chicago answered that question with a definitive “No!” When I visited UChicago, I found a community of hybrids. If UChicago could fiddle with evolution, flamingiraffes would be a common sight. Instead, though, there are students like my tour guide, who majors in political science… and performs in the circus. I want to attend a school where experimentation is encouraged, and where taking a class simply due to genuine curiosity isn’t an anomaly.
Some believe that the Core restricts this freedom of learning; I think that the Core encourages it. The Core supports learning for the sake of learning, a practice that has become endangered. Students at other schools seemed complacent, which certainly isn’t negative. UChicago students, though, never appeared to be satiated; I could always detect that hunger for more information, for more books, for more experience, even amongst upperclassmen. UChicago students are intellectual gluttons, yet the Core provides such an immense variety of classes that it manages to perpetuate that wonderful hunger.
Yes, I’m a self-professed science-addict, and the phrase “research opportunities!” initially attracted me to UChicago. I fell in love with the Core, though. I want to major in biology, but I also want to find the derivative of (3ln[x^2 – 1])/-cos(7x), learn about film, and finally understand how the stock market really works. I want to grow to the point of being indefinable.
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