Thursday, October 17, 2013

M Means Miriam Misses Mines

It has recently come to my attention that I might have mild form of Stockholm's syndrome. It makes me cringe to admit it, but I miss Mines. Sometimes I think about going back. I have researched these feelings of mine thoroughly to come to the conclusion that it must be a psychological problem. And I quote:
"These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness." (I used Google and clicked the first link. Just so I properly document my very scientific research.)
This disorder is described as follows, "strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other."
I feel this is an adequate description of my time there. I vividly recall sixteen hour days in front of dual screens in the Coady lab researching the chemical composition of cow manure one one screen while working on bioprocess homework on the other. I also recall dragging myself uphill in the sweltering summer heat to go to lab at 7 in the morning even after being up late working on the last one. Climbing the four flights of rig stairs is nothing compared to the eight sets of staircases in Alderson hall. My memories of listening to professor Ely lecture and thinking, "You speak at a level of smart that I just cannot comprehend," are still fresh. The panic I felt at the mere mention of kinetics class may never fade. I still feel sick with apprehension those last five minutes before any test I take. While I might not have appreciated Mines while I was eating a diet consisting mainly of ramen noodles, hot sauce, and bulk containers of peanut butter over tear stained engineering paper, I have some awesome memories that probably fueled this random desire to return.
Nothing may ever make me feel the same sort of accomplishment as that A I got in Thermodynamics after the first time I failed the class spectacularly. Coors is never as delicious as it was when it was free, fresh, and slammed down at Coors lab in the hour long gap between classes. I still use the Buchtel correlation, the process of taking the average of the averages because your data is a mess. And I still sometimes think of Josh Buchtel and how he called me emotionally unstable and screamed at me to calm down countless times during our distillation column experiment until I was laughing hysterically. I also proudly remember lying to my senior design team about our project due date to ensure it's completion in time. I remember babysitting my "unrelated children" after class and debating whose homework was more difficult. I fondly recall Steve, the microbiology professor with a fondness for argyle ties who once brought us cookies AND milk. Steve, who was so ridiculous he inspired me to write poetry and keep detailed logs of Steve quotes rather than take notes. There was fluids class, where breast pumps and balloons were brought in to demonstrate how pumps function. In the end, I was so comfortable at Mines that I spent my late nights in the computer lab, blaring music from the main sound system, shoes off, wearing my pajamas.
I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that my specialties will be in the fields I most struggled with and claimed to hate. Fluids will never let me go. Thermo just makes me happy in this twisted way and I still ponder it's mysteries many an evening. While I have not yet caved and gone back for a petroleum engineering degree or a metallurgy degree (I can hear Travis and other Travis gleefully mocking me already), I may give in yet. For now I am content with pestering everyone with my new found infatuation with the second law of thermodynamics. (Really though, google it and you'll find all sorts of fascinating subtopics with names like "Maxwell's demon" and "the arrow of time.") I miss my not safety approved paint covered blue hardhat.

**Photography credit goes to my future father in    law. Way to go spotting Blaster esque piece of artwork.

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