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Anokhi Saklecha Headshot

The Science in the Humanities

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"So...are you a humanities or science person?"

It was my very first day at my new school, and a classmate asked me this question in the midst of introducing herself. Unsure of how to answer, I said something along the lines of "science, I guess. I mean, it's always been my favorite subject."

Fast-forward three years to the present.

I cannot count the number of times I have been asked a version of this question since that day. And, still, I find myself hesitating every time I try to respond -- not because I am confused about my interests anymore, but rather, because of the faults behind the question.

Where do humanities and arts end, and where does science begin?

I've always thought of myself as a science person. I love the thrill of completing a successful experiment and the fulfillment of discovering the answer to my own question. I love the anticipation of performing chemical reactions and the wonder of witnessing cell activity. There's always a reason behind everything in science -- it just makes sense.

...And, then, I found my passion for writing. Writing unlocked a world of creativity and freedom that I could never truly express in my scientific work. As I began to write more and more, whether it was for my school newspaper or a personal narrative, I realized I had uncovered a side of me I had never known to exist. But, writing was much more a humanities and arts topic than it was a science. And, it was something that was not always explainable and did not always make sense.

Science and writing -- two polar opposites according to societal norms, and yet, I was in love with both. So, what did that make me? Science or humanities?

The answer is scienanities (or humanence, whichever you prefer). Surprise! Yes, contrary to popular belief, you can be both. In fact, no one should strictly be one or the other.

The truth is, the barrier between science and humanities is man-made, and it needs to be broken down. Now.

As I begin to look deeper into colleges of my interest, I am noticing this barrier present on almost all campuses. If you pick a "humanities" major, you will take humanities classes with "humanities people," and the same applies to science. Colleges themselves are often labeled "liberal arts" or "science and math"; sure, there may be exceptions, but the overarching idea here is that there is a societal divide where there shouldn't be.

And this "Great Divide" is not just present in schools and colleges. It extends into the everyday lives of job-seekers and working professionals. Attempting to eliminate this artificial barrier inside each of us can enhance the way we think and act.

The skills that writing has brought to my science and the skills that science has brought to my writing are truly unique. We must learn how to integrate the two subjects so that they can work together -- not only in society, but also within ourselves.

At the end of the day, there really is no such thing as a humanities person or a science person -- because deep inside, we are all both.