Oana Manta, senior in English, enjoys binge watching good shows, ice skating, and supporting the Blackhawks. Oana studied biological sciences before switching over to English. She shares the differences between writing for these two disciplines and explains that these different writing styles may not necessarily be polar opposites.

During my first three years at UIC, I was a biological sciences major. This meant that most of my writing was composed of research papers and lab reports. Writing for the sciences is very analytical and straightforward; professors want the facts, not the fluff. For example, for Inorganic Chemistry and Genetics Lab, I wrote out reports detailing the experiments and results.

For other courses such as Homeostasis and Biology of the Brain, I’ve written research papers on various subjects, such as the modes of action used by different neurotoxins, in an easy-to-understand way. When writing for the sciences, I avoided including my opinions and analysis of the subject unless it was deliberately requested in the assignment, which rarely happened.

As an English major, the writing I’m doing is very different. English courses put less importance on the cold, hard facts than science courses do. I am regularly asked to include my own analysis and opinions of the texts we are exposed to. This allows me to be creative and introspective, which I rarely had the opportunity to do in my science courses.

My critical theory course, ENGL 240, however, required me to do something a little different. Throughout the semester, we were instructed not to include our own opinions of texts. Instead, we were commonly asked to put the authors of various texts in conversation with one another and discuss what points they would agree and disagree on. Compared to my other English courses, the writing I did for this course was the closest to the writing I did for my science courses.

Completing essays for critical theory required me to extensively analyze the texts, deduce the authors’ opinions, and explain them in a clear manner. In a way, this was similar to writing lab reports for which I had to analyze the experiment, deduce the significance of the results, and explain them in a clear way. Prior to having this experience, I assumed that writing for English courses always required working with the text as well as injecting my own personal take on the content. Now, after my first semester as an English major, I know that this is not actually true, and that writing for the sciences and for English could be similar depending on how the assignment is presented.