Week 1_ Two Cultures Necessary for True Genius by Christine Vu

        History is an unavoidable phenomena. As a child, born and raised in LA, I have learned to admire UCLA as a school where its students eccentricity is put to the test. It is not until enrolling in my second year of college that I realized, conformity is what defines us.
        Stereotypes of high school have found a way to cling onto our suitcases as we enter a new realm of life. But the only difference now is that Jocks, Geeks, Punks, Musicians, and Nerds, are thrown into two separate cultures: north campus and south Campus. Sadly, I learned this first through t-shirts saying “northie” and “southie”. As a freshman, I was eager to enter into this rivalry, not thoroughly examining the motives behind it. It wasn’t until another year of college that I became aware of the negative affects. As an individual who loves the sciences as well as the arts, I am sensitive to the clear distinction the faculty, staff, and student body has successfully imposed. For example, why is it that north campus is surrounded flowers, green quads, and beautiful sculptures while south campus is made up of gloomy ancient buildings? Many would say South campus majors are too focused on their studies to appreciate decor, but in my point of view, it’s just a silly assumption. Another reason why it is too difficult to  mesh these two cultures is the many requirements that one must take to just fit into one. A south campus major can barely graduate within four years taking his or her minimal required classes. I believe that we should cut down on the requirements and allow little room to take classes outside of our major.  It’s ironic how college is suppose to be about taking the classes you like, when that is clearly not the case.
        We are in a war in which we are forced to choose between being a south campus major or a north campus major. In each case, there is a certain criteria that must be followed. Many argue that north campus students are smarter because of their ability to succeed without doing as much work or being able to say “I partied so hard last night at frat row”  despite having an 8 am midterm the next day. On the other hand, most south campus students share the common goal of doing the impossible: getting into medical school, doing what their parents imprinted in their heads since grade school. This dilemma places a limit on learning and the paradigm that “anything goes”.
        Discovering Professor Vesna’s Desma 9 course, i was intrigued by its desire to break this custom, collaborating art, science, and technology into one study. As busy students, we tend to overlook the fact that in many cases, art and science are very much alike. Albert Einstein even wrote, “”…one of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.” I hope that one day, we will realize that it takes both the arts and the sciences to experience true genius.

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