…and it always strikes at a very wrong time! After nearly a year of my doing core chemical engineering (as I have mentioned umpteen times before), amnesia hits you the hardest when you are subjected to blasts of core thermodynamics, mass transfer , transport and kinetics at an advanced stage wherein your undergrad was a prerequisite.
My classes include the very frequent (almost habitual) narrowing of eyes, brain conjuring up flashes of similar terms and words from the distant past and me going “Aah…I think I’ve heard of it, yes yes…” and by then the professors have already uttered the words “..and all this you should be expert at..”, to the horrified muttering in class with everyone recounting the years it has been since they did all this or some very blatantly sighing with hands pasted on their foreheads. I personally believe the professors just love this reaction and must be smiling victoriously as they turn to the boards and write the next long-forgotten equation. I always wonder how it is that my brain spotlessly wipes out everything about engineering I learnt a year ago but keeps stuff like song lyrics, movie stories and other shit intact!
Fresh graduate students are here to get screwed. It is like putting them through the toughest first so that the years after that seem like a cake-walk. Papers are heaped upon us with material appearing on the course websites faster than you can say the word next. Amidst endless assignments, hurried submissions, red puffy eyes and stifled yawns through classes, there is an amazing bonhomie developing amongst all of us. Its like facing the fire together. You get to know and see a plethora of methods, ideas and there is no dearth of help around. Most importantly, the bonding factor is the feeling of stupidity. It might seem funny but everyone is just amazed as to how they’ve forgotten everything and/or are making stupid mistakes. Then there are always the few who somehow manage to read everything beforehand or are blessed with brilliant memories to aggravate this feeling of stupidity. Almost like telepathy, a professor distributed a paper on “Importance of stupidity in research” to read before class. Believe it or not, it was the most motivating paper I’ve read in recent times.
Yaaaawwwnnn! Its 12 45 in the morning and I still have a paper to finish reading and an early morning class at 8. I guess I should ask myself to shut down wordpress and finish the paper before crashing for the day.
But why am I not doing that ? I think I’ve forgotten the answer…