Against One

Salem Loucks
Sophomore, College of Engineering




This poem is a love song to learning. It’s an embrace of the interdisciplinary sciences, and a brief capture of doubt. If you’ve ever wondered what you ended up studying in another world, this is for you. I find myself falling in love with learning and I refuse to accept a one-track mind. Interdisciplinary arts and engineering is the only way to create a world built for humans in all their strange and wonderful complexities.

I am someone who loves learning, and in this world today we are often told to choose one scientific discipline and stick with it. We are told to choose one craft and put on blinders, dig in deep and just pursue that craft. I refuse to believe that this is the only path available to me, or to our generation. The ability to connect disparate disciplines and engineer projects with a basis in arts, science, and human interests is the only way to create livable works. Since I was young, I was never able to choose just one topic to focus on. I love learning coding, but also painting. I love astrophysics but also archaeology, poetry but also chemistry, music but also robotics, linguistics and also mathematics. Going to college I thought I would get to explore all of these disparate disciplines and connect them. To some extent, that has held true. Yet at the same time, I choose a major and have had to dig in and focus on it. Still, even in my focuses, I find my wide background helping me tie together everything, from painting teaching me the way to dissect computer vision to archaeology better helping me understand 3D scanning. 

The doubt in that decision haunts me, and it worries me that every person has to choose just one discipline to work with. I was at a talk with some of the scientists and engineers who worked on the James Webb Space Telescope when I felt a part of my heart being stolen, once again, by the stars. At that moment I started writing, scrawling across the page and wishing for a world where I had the choice to learn and love it all. So this poem is a plea for an interdisciplinary world.