Before they battle it out in our live Art vs Science game show, we asked some of our artists to look back on their high school English and Science classes and tell us what they found easy, hard, boring and interesting.
CALEB TRISCARI, multimedia journalist and producer, Team Art
EASY. Chemistry and maths were the subjects I found to be the easiest. I think it was the equations which made it easy, being able to apply a standard rule to a range of situations in order to get the result. Reflecting on this, perhaps I’m more suited to Team Science.
HARD. No matter how hard I practised, I could never get the hang of writing essays about literary texts. I was told I could never truly answer the essay question and tended to go off on a tangent. Also I never quite figured out what the hell a “Judeo-Christian discourse” was. I could never wrap my head around how organic chemistry worked. How can carbon make so much stuff in so many ways?
BORING. Studying Heart of Darkness was the bane of my existence in Year 12 Literature. I don’t think I actually finished reading it in the end and had to make up some serious bullshit when it came to writing essays on the novel.
INTERESTING. I really enjoyed learning about Shakespeare. We studied Othello in Year 11 and 12 Literature and the context around race and religion in those times was really interesting. Learning about chemical bonds between different atoms was interesting too.
ADALYA NASH HUSSEIN, nonfiction writer and editor, Team Science
HARD. In high school I broadly defined myself as being a person who was ‘into English’, but I actually had mostly terrible English teachers and so I did a lot of assignments that were maybe actively designed to make it clear that I thought what we had to do was stupid (I remember doing a Shakespeare scene as a cat?). I also had to study Lord of the Flies twice and I really did not like that book.
BORING. In Science, I found learning anatomy extremely boring, and I ended up skipping Year 11 Biology where most of that gets taught. I liked learning about specific cell types, and the broader systems of the body (and nearly majored in immunology), but I think the organs themselves felt too vague and didn’t have enough of a narrative for me to really get into them.
INTERESTING. In Year 10, I had a Maths teacher who I really liked and who was not just very good at teaching but also putting together organised note, which in retrospect actually made a big difference to how much I ended up liking Maths (which I now have a degree in lol). She developed in me a 4 colour pen system that I was very emotionally invested in.
NICOLE MCKENZIE, writer, performer and event producer, Host
EASY. During my middle years of high school, many of my subjects were blended together in a trial program called MESH (Maths, English, Science, Humanities). While this may have worked for some students, I elected to focus all of my time on English and would sit myself down in the corner and write stories, poems and monologues for hours each day, so I found it easy to avoid all Science and focus on writing.
HARD. In an epic Science adventure, I screwed up the coke and mentos experiment by using a subpar mint as a mentos substitute. My group members and I dragged the whole class outside to watch this EPIC explosion, only to witness the sad fizzle of some coke. It’s safe to say that Science was never my strong point.
BORING. In my first ever Science class we were told to explore the room and equipment. I broke a large beaker by hitting something stored inside it into the bottom of the beaker. The teacher thought I was being naughty but I genuinely thought that the two items belonged together as some sort of suction device.
INTERESTING. I found experiments in science interesting and loved looking down a microscope, but never fell in love with the writing of prac reports (why couldn’t I just state my OPINION?). I also love the interaction between Art and Science that can be found in Psychology. It ended up being one of my favourite subjects at high school, in part because of all the reading and writing involved.
LISA DIB, Melbourne writer, editor and podcaster, Team Art
EASY. Writing. I relished the idea of a long-form essay, where I didn’t have to worry about restrictive word counts in imparting my ideas. I found it fun and relatively simple to wax lyrical in long essays with dense, idea-rich paragraphs. Back in those days of yore, my hands would be sore and a little blistery from trying to get my writing hand to keep up with my brain.
HARD. I found Biology and Psychology easier than, say, Geology or Chemistry, but I felt I did not have the “mind” for them. I know, now, that the left-right brain thing is not wholly correct, but at sixteen I just figured I didn’t have the brain for Science.
BORING. Anything Physics-related. The content of these classes has been erased from my memory due to lack of interest.
INTERESTING. Film criticism. We didn’t do much of this in high school, but we did study films like Looking for Alibrandi and Gattaca; indeed, my school spent so long on Gattaca for the Year 12 exams that I can’t watch it now without knowing what quotes I used to emphasise my arguments, and what character quirks I took as deeply-laid metaphor.