I went to a Science lecture and it made me feel inadequate

You mean you have to attend these on Saturdays?

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole thing to be honest.

Arts students: Ever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of the Physical Natural Sciences department? No? Me neither.

But in case you have, I selflessly sacrificed my honour and safety to go and find out. Just for you. No really, don’t mention it.

12.00 – Arrived in the lecture hall. There are 275 other people in here, giving me a reasonable chance of blending in. Here goes.

12.01 – Obstacle number one to going unnoticed: no one in PhysNatSci uses laptops. No one. This is something I didn’t even consider. I’m not sure I even own conventional writing utensils, let alone use them.

12.02 – I’m so clearly out of place. I’m typing. Also I’m a girl. Also we’re in the front row – not sure how this happened.

12.03 – Ok we’ve moved – front row was too much.

Spot the female

12.10 – They all get loads of handouts. And therefore none of them are making any notes. At all. The result is an eerie stillness. A lot of people don’t make notes in Geography lectures but for very different reasons.

12.12 – Omg suddenly everyone’s writing. I have no idea why. They’ve literally all just started writing at the same time – all 275 of them. At once.

12.14 – The writing frenzy has stopped as quickly as it started.

12.16 – This whole experience is weird as fuck.

12.17 – Imagine if I was actually obliged to understand any of this. These poor, poor people. Then again, they are slightly better prepared for it than me via a scientific education prior to this beyond a B in GCSE core science.

12.20 – Amidst trying to take a picture of this crazy-ass diagram, the flash went off. Oh god the humiliation.

Taken at the expense of my dignity

12.23 – Lecturer just said “it’s a pretty fun topic” – it was met with a sarcastic laugh on behalf of his audience. Signs of life identified. Humour also identified. Well done PhysNatScis.

12.26 – They all just laughed again and this time it wasn’t even disparaging – it was a ‘laughing with you not at you’ laugh. I’m less comfortable with this one. I feel excluded.

12.29 – He made another joke about the Titanic and everyone laughed again. I’m sure it wasn’t insensitive but then I wouldn’t know as I didn’t get it. Again.

12.35 – Ok I’m sorry but they’re colouring in. As a Geography student I have encountered many a sarcastic comment about our penchant for colouring pens. This seems deeply hypocritical.

At least I feel at home

12.38 –I’m actually still angry about this. They get so much credit for being serious and clever.

12.39 – Ok, just refocused on the lecture material – on second thoughts, the credit seems fair enough – He’s talking about more things that I don’t understand. He also just made another joke that I don’t understand.

12.42- This lecturer is quite the joker it would seem. Also he’s really quite fit. I don’t know whether that’s a product of my initially low expectations but he is actually genuinely attractive.

12.45 – Just covertly asked my friend to take a picture of me. She asked what filter I wanted. I told her I didn’t care as I am already a Geography student sitting in a PhysNatSci lecture with a laptop while occasionally pulling out my camera. I don’t want to add to that by being the annoying bitch that keeps talking. I don’t feel PhysNatScis would be particularly appreciative of light-hearted photography related banter.

She doesn’t even go here

12.48 – Lecturer just said – “the equation for this is very simple”. He then proceeded to produce an equation with more symbols than the entire emoji archive.

Honestly made about as much sense as this


12.50 – He just used the word simple again. Does he realise how inadequate he’s making me feel?!

12.54 – They all just started writing again. Suddenly. And all at the same time. It’s like they’re part of a minimalist, uninteresting and academic themed flash mob. And I have definitely not been filled in on the routine.


12.55 – Moral Dilemma: Do I take one?

12.55 – I feel like such an impostor.

12.56 – I took one don’t worry.

12.56 – He just made another joke – didn’t even hear that one. Am too focused on the chocolate.

I have no concept of delayed gratification

12.57 – He has now just produced two giant, phallic shaped balloons. I’m not quite sure what this is proving.

12.58 – He just produced another one.

12.58 – Omg and another.

12.59 – There is an apparently unending supply of giant phallic balloons

Evidence that this legit went down

12.58 – The balloon demonstration didn’t work. The lecturer insists that it normally always works.

13.00 – My friend assured me that lectures do not usually feature chocolate and balloons. I see no reason to believe her.

13.02 – Lecture has ended – clapping AND cheering which seems excessive to me. Note to self: PhysNatScis are easily won over by confectionary and children’s party activities.

So for an hour I was a PhysNatSci. And, despite the unshakeable feeling of intellectual incompetency, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. In fact I would go as far as to say I had more fun in than the average Geography lecture. Probably because I was under no obligation to actually absorb any of the information. Then again, there were balloons and chocolate.

But on the other hand there were also a lot of intellectual in-jokes, an unnerving amount of hand-written notes, and a lot of very, very confusing information.

Also I was so clearly out of place despite my best efforts to blend in with the crowd – and it was this that led me to establish the primary issue with the sciences, in that, a lot like my personal experience in this lecture, its almost impossible to pretend that you know what you’re doing when in fact, you don’t.

In other words, while there may be room for balloons, chocolate and jokes about the Titanic, there isn’t much room for bullshit – and I think that would take some getting used to.