I swapped lectures with a STEM student and, wow, you guys have it rough

Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in the humanities building anymore…


The battle of good and evil between humanities and STEM students has been raging on from time immemorial. It doesn't matter which University you attend, no one can escape the age-old question: "Are STEM subjects really that hard?"

Well, this is your lucky day because The Tab have decided to take one for the team and send a humble English Literature student into the belly of the beast in search of answers…

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If you zoom in, you can see my tears

First things first, the location. It's called the 'Zeeman Building'. But don't be fooled by the jazzy name – it's a far cry from the safe arms of the humanities building. This place is a maze. I mean, what do you study when you take a Zeeman degree in the Zeeman department of the University of Warwick? Maths, that's what. Freshers, you can thank me later.

Once I had successfully infiltrated the building, I entered the rather intimidating MS.02. There was a smell in there, a strange smell. "Is that maths?" I thought, sniffing again. "Ah, yes. It must be maths giving off that scent."

Then the moment we had all been waiting for arrived: The lecturer entered the room.

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0/A = SCAM

I'll keep it real with you, I had no idea what was going on from the outset of the lecture. There was some talk of a graph but, try as I might, I couldn't understand it.

Worse still, no one was using a computer. There was no reassuring sound of people smashing notes into the keyboards of their rose-gold Macbooks. There was only me: a lone soul in a sea of STEM students. The memory of it still makes me shiver.

And if that wasn't enough to betray my alien presence, my clothes were a dead giveaway. It turns out STEM students don't really opt in for bright colours. Their get-up is almost always on the darker side of the colour spectrum: black, navy, maroon, and so on. This might seem like an odd observation to make. A brainless one, even. But you try passing your time in a Maths lecture with nothing but a GCSE education on the matter. I'll tell you something for nothing: it doesn't hold up.

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I was hard at work

But then, just as I was at my lowest, a golden opportunity arose. "What is the most famous curve?" the lecturer asked. You could practically hear crickets. The lecturer tried again. "It has no endpoints…" he implored. Still, nothing.

Then my heart started beating erratically in my chest. I had the answer! "A circle," I whispered. My co-conspirator, a genuine STEM student, shrugged his shoulders. "When you think it's easy, it's usually not," he replied. But I was not about to be stopped. This was my moment. I spoke again, heart full of hope. "A circle?"

Then another voice piped up, hearing my answer. "A circle!" it cried. The lecturer approved, full of joy. And just like that, I was robbed. It's a cruel world in STEM.

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After that disaster, my mood dipped, rather like the graph on the board. I didn't pay too much attention, and settled for checking my watch. Normally I would've been in Curiositea by now.

But, alas, I was not. I was here, in the Zeeman building, wondering what my life had become. Someone mentioned a 'dimension hyper surface' and my brain finally packed up for good.

So, what wisdom can I impart on you? Well. N=2, for one thing. For another, it's true what they say: STEM students really do have it rough. I mean, who uses a chalkboard in this day and age? Give me a powerpoint with lecture capture any day. But hey, it isn't all doom and gloom. At least STEM students will be making big bank after graduation. And maybe that's why they must plod through this murky world of hand-written notes and Zeeman buildings. Maybe that's the price.