Monday, March 7, 2011

Things That Used To Matter So Much

I was having a text conversation with Lion recently, and he brought up a very interesting point. Some things that used to matter so much are usually looked back on in the memory as not nearly as important.

Take, for instance, our senior year as undergraduates. Our Chemistry department had what was called "Seminar". Each student had to give a seminar on a topic of chemistry. The professors would come if they felt like it. Friends and classmates would come to support, or see the impending massacre, and then it began.

A harmless presentation, meant to show one's expertise in some corner of Chemistry, followed by an assault on that knowledge. Those who picked topics in Biochemistry were screwed because it seemed that every Biochem professor showed up on that day. How serious was this? Well you needed a passing grade on your seminar to graduate. Some people didn't graduate. Grad school, leaving Tallahassee, getting a real job, all delayed because of some arbitrary assignment placed dangerously near the end of one's last semester of school.

So of course, when Lion and I discussed it, we didn't remember it at all as being worthy of such seriousness. He and I both aced our seminars. But we were sort of the darlings of the department. We had professors lined up to help. One helped make the seminar, another listened for content, another listened for style. But the time we got to the day, we were good.

I picked Analytical Chemistry because the only professors who taught it loved me and knew I was supposed to start med school that fall. For Lion, he picked Biochemistry. Some thought he was foolish, but I knew better. It was the Biochem professors who loved him the most (he just didn't get Analytical Chemistry), plus he was good at Biochemistry. Like really good. And he didn't want to have to learn new stuff he'd managed not to learn yet.

The days of our seminars arrived and I gotta be honest, the only thing I remember is Lion screwing up one question about Eastern blots. And if you know what I mean by that, you are my favorite blog reader. But our seminars went waaaaay better than some of our other classmates. That type of success would make one forget how serious something once seemed. Even after ours were done, it still felt so serious for the other people. I wonder how those people (especially those who didn't do well) feel about the seminar. I wonder does time heal all wounds. And now, a list!

10 Reasons Things Seem Less Serious After The Fact

1. You got through it with no major (or minor) disasters.
2. People keep telling you how great things went, over time replacing your memory of how it went.
3. Because something was scary, you tried harder and got an undeniably better result.
4. Even if it was bad for you, it was worse for someone else, so by comparison...
5. You had a great support system that you unfortunately undervalued at the time.
6. You had something big riding on it and those standing in your way were more inclined to not make your life hell.
7. You always trump things up in your head. Upon review, it wasn't that serious.
8. You let the failure of those before you (no matter how unprepared they may have been) scare you.
9. Herd mentality. Everyone says it's serious, it must be.
10. Faulty memory. It's why women with low pain tolerances have multiple children. Your memory (or lack thereof) is soothing you into a false sense of comfort.

Any other reasons I missed?

0 New Hypotheses:

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