It’s not all just exams and alcohol

I usually get a wide-eyed look when I tell people I study econometrics. It’s as if they’ve just spotted some strange sort of animal at the zoo- the sort that would sell its soul for job prospects.

Of course, that’s simply untrue. I’ve known many aspiring econometrists who’ve lead perfectly normal lives filled with hobbies, and friends and things (many have since metamorphosised into full-fledged econometrists). My personal claim to normality is a mild appreciation for literature.

High school lessons on Shakespeare were nice and all, but there were more interesting things as a teenager. It was only after I got here that the spark was kindled. A chance lecture, and the realisation that the UB was also a library ended up unveiling a world that I’d forgotten existed.

I’m admittedly new to it, but the stuff’s not half bad. I don’t think I have the stomach to digest Goethe and write essays about it (which is why I hedged my bets, and stuck with econometrics), but it’s certainly helped widen my perspective, and has greatly improved the quality of procrastination spirals.

I can’t think of a better remedy for prejudice and tyranny than reading literature

You’re suddenly able to travel across the world, and hear stories that are more raw and full than anything on social media. You’re also able to share the joys and suffering of people who look, talk and live differently than you do. I can’t think of a better remedy for prejudice and tyranny.

The crazy thing is how easily it can be taken for granted. The printing press didn’t come along till the 14th century, and mass literacy, till the 18th. It’s literally taken centuries of committed effort to get us to this point, and I could just have easily have walked by it without so much as a second glance.

It took me two whole years to figure out that there was more to student life than sitting exams and drinking (and not necessarily in that order). It’s also apparently taken me twenty-three articles for this paper to embrace parentheses, but better late than not at all.

As with beer, it can be quite enriching to switch it up at times when it comes to being a student. And in this town, the possibilities are endless.


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