Every time I’ve introduced myself in a new year of college, I’ve proudly announced a new proposed major, per my latest crystal ball reading for my future career.
I arrived my first year as a biology and Spanish double major on the pre-health track. Second year, a Spanish major with a minor in psychology. Third year, a self-declared major combining psychology and journalism, with a minor in Spanish. And finally, four years later, I am proud to say that I am a Spanish major with a Nexus concentration in journalism, media and public discourse.
When you look closely at the College’s official emblem, do palm trees catch your eye? “Palm trees in South Hadley, Massachusetts?” you may wonder. “That’s curious.”
“Good morning everyone! Breakfast is ready!” I hear a voice call from outside my tent at 6:30 a.m. The air is crisp and still on this early January morning in the Mojave National Preserve.
Into the desert
We are about three hours outside of Los Angeles, California, but we are the only people within 10 miles of our base camp. Jess Pelaez, the founder and CEO of Blueprint Earth, has been up for the past hour. She has been checking to make sure our Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and Thermo-Hygro-Anemometers — which are used to calculate wind speed, humidity and air volume — are fully charged for our eight-hour expedition into the desert.
For many of my early years, I thought everyone experienced the world as I did. When I encounter certain stimulus, such as hearing the musical note A, it involuntarily elicits another seemingly unrelated sensation, such as seeing the color red. It wasn’t until I read about synesthesia in V. S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee’s book The Phantom of the Brain that I had a serious “Aha!” moment.
“That’s so interesting!”
I smile politely as yet another person reacts to finding out that I am a biology and film studies double major. I’ve always struggled with responding to that statement. It definitely is interesting—that’s why I’m studying the two! But for me, these two disciplines, which seem galaxies apart for some, simply use two different lenses to understand the world: one through a microscope, the other through a camera.