Posts Written by Aadita

The Engineer and the Activist

This piece was originally published in The Cannon newspaper. Crossposted at The Thylacine Reports.

A GPA in endless jeopardy and slogging through yet another eight-hour lab may encompass the bulk of engineering students’ primary grievances, but there is a great deal more to the undergraduate experience than what’s comprised in late night study sessions and past-due problem sets. Ultimately, the most poignant existential crises you’ll face will not stem from failed midterms, but the eternal and primal things writers and poets obsess about: fear, love, death, hope, desire and – of course – sex; in short, the pillars of your identity and experience.

For many, arriving at university represents the first true exposure to a broad and challenging set of values, beliefs and backgrounds different from their own. This can be like a rumspringa of sorts – albeit, an extensive one spanning four or more years. It is an expedition nonetheless that calls for the sort of company and entertainment that can lift one’s spirits during the many tempestuous, possibly compass-less nights on the high seas of student life, and thus, finding a tribe whose values corresponded to one’s own is fundamental to surviving the experience.

While I may have been subconsciously aware of how gender roles and behaviors are codified through systems specific to societies, before coming to university I had never formally encountered the term ‘heteronormative’. The idea became tangible to me in particular a few weeks after F!rosh week when my best friend told me ...