The Learn’d Astronomer

Okay, clearly I did not write the following, but I wanted to repost this and share some of my day and feelings.

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

What a masterful poem by Walt Whitman!

So the reason that I was thinking about this today was in part because of the busyness(hehe pun) of the past two days of school. That’s right, two days have passed and I’ve already done some 10 hours of homework.

Today was actually one of those rare days where I was über focused on my work, in part because it was actually very interesting but also in part because I want to satisfy my own standards this year. Yes, I seem like a “good kid” on the outside, but as I mentioned before, 4.0s that are earned only by #NoSleep seem something like blood money to me. I resolved to do better this year.

But although I managed it today, I very much fear what it would be like in the future. Could I carry on under this massive weight for another 178 days? Would my resolve stand tall?

But after several hours integrating with trigonometric substitution and working on ion pumps, I finally took a good long break and went outside. This Seattle weather has been enjoying some good ol’ storms and gloomy weather, hence the overcast skies and hearts in many students. But tonight, save for a few wispy, lonely clouds, I could finally look up again.

It’s a bit odd how light that has travelled thousands of light years is able to keep me grounded on earth.

No, I don’t want to be an astronomer when I grow up, but seeing the sheer beauty and majesty of nature around me reminds me why I love to learn. It’s important to focus on the details, dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s, but you just have to stand back and see the whole picture sometimes. If nothing else, it keeps you alive inside.

There was a quote I remember reading, which stated something along the lines of “if you want to have others build a boat, don’t just get wood. Teach the others to yearn for the sea”. It is just as important to visit the sea when you’re feeling down, or lost and confused.

Hope you all out there are having good weeks and finding meaningful things to do!

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