(Shopping Period)LifeHacker: Mastering the mid-class exit

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Ah, Shopping Period. It’s one of those quintessential aspects of Brown, embodying the very spirit of the open curriculum: explore all of your interests, take in all of the courses Brown has to offer, and build your own schedule—even if it means that some of those interests and course offerings meet at the same time. In theory, Shopping Period gives students the green light to pack their belongings mid-lecture and leave for another class without any offense to the professor. Yet, for some reason, it always feels slightly wrong. Whether the professor throws some shade your way as you scurry out of J. Walter Wilson, or if they make a passing joke or comment about people jumping ship halfway through a fifty-minute class, no one has perfected the mid-class Shopping Period exit (not to be confused with the sexit). We’re here to deconstruct it.

The reactions of professors to the mid-class exit are varied, contingent on many different circumstances, from how long the professor has been at Brown to the size of the class. Some of the more common responses include:  Continue Reading

(Campus)Lifehacker: Orange creamsicle floats at the Ratty

For those who feel a little sick after their 100th consecutive delicious waffle cake for desert when dining at the Ratty, try a delightful, refreshing alternative: the Ratty orange creamsicle float. Here’s how you make it:

1. Grab a glass. Grumble to yourself about how ridiculously small the Ratty cups are compared to the V-Dub’s normal-sized ones.

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2. Go to the soda machine that dispenses Fanta, located to the back left of the Ratty. Fill it up halfway.

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3. Get some vanilla soft serve, located in the Bistro section. Grumble to yourself how the ice cream is so inconveniently located from the Fanta machine, and how walking/exercise is the worst.

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4. Put the vanilla ice cream in the orange soda. Grab a spoon, stir it up, and enjoy!

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(Campus)Lifehacker: Wireless printing to PAWPrints

Long gone are the days of waiting in line to use the printing station in Faunce. Apparently, we’ve been able to print wirelessly to PAWPrints all along. All it takes is a download or two, tweaking your system preferences, and, voilà, wireless printing is a go. Check out the high production value videos (see below) and written instructions to find out the full details. Now, every printing excursion can be stress free, that is, unless the printer’s broken…

(Campus)Lifehacker: Read almost any book you want for free

Ever wanted to read a book for fun (yes, I said fun) but couldn’t find it in any of Brown’s libraries? Or maybe you just want to get hold of some obscure academic book that will make your paper stand out. In either case, I have great news for you bibliophiles (if you didn’t understand that word, you’re probably not one) you can almost certainly get the book you want, and all it requires is a few clicks:

  1. Go to Josiah (no not that one).
  2. After making sure Brown doesn’t have the book, type the book title in the easyBorrow search bar (image guide below).
  3. That search bar.

    That search bar.

  4. A list of books will pop up. Choose the one you want. You will be taken to the book’s page within the database.
  5. Directly below the basic book information it will say: “You are connected to the Brown University network,” and there is an option “Request This Item.” Click it. (Don’t worry—you’ll incur no additional charges; and that was such a good imitation of University communications).
  6. That’s it! The page might ask you to log into Brown’s network (the username and password you use for Banner), but then you’re done.

When the book arrives, an email will be sent to your Brown email, and the pick-up location will be specified (Rock or SciLi). Just go there, flash your Brown ID, smile widely (or maybe not, that’s a bit creepy) and then go to a secluded corner to cuddle up with your new best friend. Just remember to thank BlogDH for this awesome tip!

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(Campus)Lifehacker: Auditing classes

Science lecture

With a week and a half of shopping period done, you’ve probably figured out your classes… at least for the most part. However, you may have found yourself with a dilemma: What do you do if there’s a fifth class you really want to take, but just don’t have the time for? Consider auditing it!

The requirements for an audit are at a professor’s discretion, but for most courses, auditing consists of coming to all the lectures but not doing the homework or taking exams. You won’t get course credit towards graduation or concentration requirements, but the class will show up on your external transcript as an ‘Audit’ in order to acknowledge the time you devoted to the course. You’ll also have access to the course’s Canvas page, in case you want to check out the readings.

If you’re interested in auditing a class, talk to the professor to find out what they require of auditors. Don’t be afraid that the professor will think you’re lazy — on the contrary, most professors are pretty impressed that you are willing to show up every day even though you’re not getting a real course credit. If you proceed into the semester with five (or four) courses and then find yourself overwhelmed, rather than dropping a course, consider the possibility of changing your registration from credit to an audit. The deadline for switching to an audit is March 7.

Auditing can be a great way to get the most out of the courses Brown has to offer without overwhelming yourself. I am currently taking four courses and auditing a fifth, something I’ve done for the past five semesters. Without a doubt, several of my audits have been among the most educational class experiences I’ve had at Brown. You should definitely think about taking advantage of this unique opportunity.

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(Shopping Period)LifeHacker: Should you buy that textbook?


When I saw the price of one of my textbooks in the bookstore, I had to slow down grab the wall. How can a few pieces of paper and cardboard possibly cost $375? For reference, that’s the cost of 750 ounces of fro-yo. There are rumors of classes with book lists running up to $700—I’m pretty sure you could buy a miniature horse with that kind of money. So should you actually shell out the dough for that textbook? Here’s a handy guide to help you find out:

1. Are you still shopping the class?
It seems like professors expect everyone shopping their class to have already bought the list of a dozen books on the syllabus by the first day (that is, if you don’t walk out halfway through). But if you’re not sure you’re going to take the course, definitely hold out.

2. Can you find the book online?
In one of my classes, my professor told us, “I’m not endorsing anything, but if you google the textbook, the first result may or may not be an entire PDF of it.” If the book is available as a handy downloadable file, there’s no need to spend money on some fancy sheets of paper.
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