When people ask me why I chose to study chemistry...

Winter 2014

Terry Blaskovits

Schulich Leader at Université Laval

When people ask me why I chose to study chemistry, I have difficulty identifying the reason. I do not see myself spending life in a lab or analyzing data, but rather using the program as a solid base on which an academic future may be built. At first, as I became embroiled in the core courses of the program, I questioned the wisdom of such a decision. This semester, however, I found unexpected joys in my program. For example, I had a rather hefty analytical lab course over these last months. It posed a particular challenge to me in that I did not have the lab experience which accompanies two years of CEGEP studies in Quebec. At first I was concerned that students were seemingly let loose in the lab to solve their chemical puzzles as they saw fit, with little background knowledge of what they were undertaking. After two weeks, though, I realized that I was living the dream of the average eight-year-old boy: to have free reign over any nu mber of chemicals I hardly understood and to do more or less whatever I wanted with them. It goes to show that, even though the intellectual aspect of the world of science can sometimes weigh one down, the true beauty of science lies not in protocols, data or theories, but in the creativity, intrigue and imagination which permeate such principles.
This year, I have continued playing violin in a symphony orchestra, taking piano lessons with a professor at the university and visiting residents at a nearby long-term care facility. The greatest improvement this year is that I am living in an old church rectory with seven other young Catholic men from my parish. This is a great learning experience for someone who has never lived cooperatively or had brothers before!
While choosing a picture for this blog, I realized that there were few scholastic photos of me from the semester. In the end, I chose one taken by one of my housemates. He said he wanted a record of how he always saw me as he passed my room: desk strewn with paper and head in hands in exasperation. I put on my lab-coat to increase the studious atmosphere of the scene. Aside from that, it was an accurate snapshot of day-to-day life: it was in this general position that I spent the better part of the semester!