Please Pay Attention to Me

UofSC junior Rob Calvin wishes you would notice just how much he has to do to even stay afloat as a chemical engineering major.  He’s working hard all day every day, and you still don’t see it.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday he’ll be in class from 8:05 until 4:00.  Mondays he has a meeting with his exclusive, hard-to-get-into, professional honors fraternity;  Wednesdays are the day his coding club meets.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are even worse.  Those are his lab days.  Basically, he puts on a lab coat and does a lot of complicated experiments that are pretty high-concept. Labs are two-hour blocks—if you’re lucky—for one hour of credit.  Rob is in three different labs this semester, and they’re all exceptionally tedious—way more tedious than anything you’re doing right now. Don’t believe him? Somehow, Rob managed to find time in his impossibly packed day to send a picture of his homework to every group chat he’s in. Yes, that polygonal gibberish is a single molecule. A single one! An average person like you could hardly begin to comprehend the agony that, for him, is just another day of learning. He’s so brave.

Tuesday nights he and a study group meet up at Swearingen; the class they’re in is so hard that none of them have made above a C on a test so far this semester.  Tuesdays and Thursdays after lab he helps a professor with research experiments on his world-changing idea. It’s kind of hard to explain if you don’t have a background in chemical engineering like Rob does, but he’ll link some of his professor’s papers on the aforementioned group chat if anyone is interested.

His math class has online homework.  He deals with Pearson and midnight deadlines on a regular basis.  All three of his labs require formal reports every week. And did he mention he’s an Honors student? The fact is Rob is doing a whole lot more than you are.  He just wishes you would take a moment to stop and acknowledge that. Because for him, it’s not about finding a meaningful position after college where he can use science to help others. It’s about you coming to terms with his incredibly tight schedule. How great is it that Rob manages to balance school and work and social life as an engineering major without failing?  Coding club counts as a social life, right?