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Goeun Park: Crammed information is out the window

Back in August, someone behind a fancy podium told us incoming first-years that in 10 years, we’d remember next to nothing from our classes.

In 10 years, the textbook facts and figures we crammed so diligently for midterms would be as distant as the nearest galaxy. Our education would pay the heating bills but they wouldn’t keep us warm when we’re shoveling sadness out of an ice cream carton. They had a point.

In the past two months, I’ve learned more than I’ve learned in the past year. Even more, I’ve unlearned what I thought were simple, indisputable truths about the universe — mostly because there are no such things as simple, indisputable truths. Even if there were, I wouldn’t know.

But here’s what I think I know.

1. The sun gives off UV light and UV light produces thymine dimers. Thymine dimers are genetic mutations that just so happen to result in melanoma. Not wearing SPF 50 is a death wish.

2. It takes less than two months to acquire tastes for seemingly disgusting and/or delicious foods. Grapefruits used to make my throat gag but now it makes me sing. My roommate shared this invaluable life lesson on how to eat them: cut it in half, slice around the membrane, scoop out the insides and experience spiritual enlightenment.

3. If x=the time of night and y=the taste of pizza, the slope m=3 until midnight. After midnight, m=3,000,000.

4. Here in my little piece of Southern California, it never snows. If I want to see a winter wonderland, I’ll have to climb a mountain — not a metaphoric mountain that symbolizes 10 steps to the front door but a literal mountain. A tall mountain.

5. The idea of working for something I once took for granted is nice only in theory.

6.  In 2010, Princeton University published a study stating that an increase in income directly correlated to an increase in happiness only up to $75,000. After that, more money did not seem to warrant more happiness. Last year, the Marist Poll argued that the “magic yearly income” was closer to $50,000.

7. $50,000 can pay for a lot of pizza.

8. There are five states and a mountain range between Minnesota and California. When you’re 19 and your family lives in a different state, they might as well live in a different country.

9. People change. People change despite all the well-intended notes I’ve left in their yearbooks saying, “Never change, you’re perfect!” In retrospect, that was more of a curse than a blessing. I’ll be all right with this eventually.

10. Yesterday, I started to memorize a map of Ancient Greece and a map of train routes in LA. I think I know which one I’ll remember better in 10 years.

Goeun Park graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends college in California.