SPRING2016: Course Superlatives

Pre-registration is upon us once again. In case you haven’t even thought about pre-registering because it’s freaking November and who are you to think more than an hour in advance, here’s your warning: Seniors register at 8 a.m. Tuesday (tomorrow), juniors on Wednesday, sophomores on Thursday and first-years on Friday.

Whether you’re deciding between that upper-level CS class and an experimental literary arts class or an 8 a.m. Monday lecture and a Friday afternoon seminar, BlogDH is here to help. Just remember: the secret to a great schedule is selecting courses based on their name alone.

We present the Spring 2016 course superlatives:


AMST0912: Unsettled Things: Objects and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century America

…likely to have the best field trips
ARCH2744: Egyptian Art in New England Museums

…likely to have the most dangerous field trips
LITR1230: Latin American Death Trip

CLPS1720: Human Resilience

PHP1680: Tobacco, Smoking, and the Evil Empire

BIOL2350: The Biology of Aging

MUSC0221: Electroacoustic Improv Ensemble

…likely to bring out your inner child
PHYS0113: Squishy Physics

MCM1700: Theory for Practice/Practice as Theory

…reflective, literally
ENGN1480: Metallic Materials

…likely to blow up Barus & Holley
PHYS1170: Introduction to Nuclear and High Energy Physics

…useful on a Saturday night
PHP1520: Emergency Medical Systems: An Anatomy of Critical Performance

practical for crossing Thayer St.
ENGL2901C: Pedestrian Theory: Walking, Working, Waking

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FALL2015: Course Superlatives

Course superlatives

The time of year has come again to ignore your current classes and focus on future endeavors, like Spring Weekend next semester’s classes. While we can’t guarantee the enjoyability, ease, or practicality of these following courses, their titles have a lot to say. Presenting, the 2015 fall semester course superlatives:


  • …Alliterative HIST0522 Reason, Revolution and Reaction in Europe
  • …Pessimistic AMST1250 Gravestones and Burying Grounds
  • …Optimistic LATN1110 Comedy
  • …Realistic PLCY1700 Crisis Management
  • …Ambitious PHIL0450 The Meaning of Life
  • …Meta COLT2650 What is Critique?
  • …Likely to Czech Your Privilege CZCH0410 Czech View of Self and Others
  • …Likely to Induce Paranoia PHP0100 Statistics is Everywhere
  • …Likely to Induce a God Complex ENGN1520 Cardiovascular Engineering
  • …Likely to Be Nominated at the 2015 Academy Awards ENGL1050 True Stories
  • …Anachronistic ENGL0310 Shakespeare: The Screenplays
  • …Specific HIST0658 Walden + Woodstock: The American Lives of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Bob Dylan
  • …Comfortable ENGN2912 Soft Matter
  • …Confusing Description of “Event-Appropriate Attire” CHIN0920 Business Chinese
  • …Risky Topic for a Lecture Course COLT1812 On Being Bored
  • …Risky Topic for a Seminar GNSS2010 Pembroke Research Seminar in Feminist Theory: Fatigue
  • …Self-Aware Meninist HIST1965 “Furies from Hell” to “Femi-Nazis”: A History of Modern Anti-Feminism
  • …Artistic STEM Course MATH1530 Abstract Algebra
  • …SO Last Week POLS1120 Campaigns and Elections
  • …Likely to Find Love at Whole Foods CHEM0360 Organic Chemistry
  • …Blunt ETHN1890 Johnny, Are You Queer: Narratives of Race and Sexuality

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The Unsung Heroes of Pre-Registration: The Critical Review

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How do you pick what classes you take each semester? Do you check with your advisor to see what you need to do in order to finish your concentration? Do you ask your friends what their favorite class has been? What about your parents and pets? Do you post on Facebook, soliciting the opinion of all 1,484 of your friends? Or, do you click that link below the course description on Banner and check out The Critical Review? Though we haven’t done a scientific analysis of the answer to this question (yet), I can imagine the last option is an important part of your decision-making process.

Without much public acknowledgment, the men and women behind the website, perhaps even as much as Meiklejohns, faculty advisors, and friends, seriously influence what you do with your academic life at Brown. And with pre-registration continuing through Tuesday afternoon, the insights the website provides are again center stage for many Brown students. I would argue that few student groups have the reach of The Critical Review, yet their members rarely find themselves in the spotlight for their work.

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Let’s talk about people who take off their shoes during class


At Brown, we do have one binary: to take one’s shoes off during class. There is no “sometimes I do,” and there is no, “well, I slide my feet out halfway.” No, no, no. Let’s not be silly. You might think that halfway insertion of foot into shoe doesn’t count because no one can see it, no one’s paying attention, and no one can tell. Well, everyone can see it, everyone is paying attention, everyone can tell, and, most importantly, everyone can smell it. You either are the person who takes his shoes off during class or you aren’t.

Brown is a safe space where students are encouraged to feel comfortable in all situations. I appreciate that, and I appreciate the fact that our 9a.m. seminar makes you feel at home. However, I still struggle to comprehend why you need to take your shoes off, and how you ever so casually do it and feel okay with it. You don’t see me taking my bra off in the middle of class because it would be more comfortable for the ensuing hour and twenty minutes of sedentary discussion about 16th century Russian political philosophy.

Is there a difference in severity between those who unleash a bare foot and those who wear socks? I’m not quite sure. Sometimes, the bare foot means the shoes smell horrific. The socks usually smell like shit by themselves. So I suppose it’s a lose-lose.

A quick question I’ve been longing to ask: If you do take your shoes off, why do you rub your feet against each other? I’ve never really had a compulsion to do that before.

While being one of the people who take off their shoes during class is a binary, the severity of each specific shoes-off situation does, actually, fall on a spectrum.

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For seniors, shopping is a whole new ballgame

Do seniors look this cute while we shop? No.

Do seniors look this cute while we shop? No, probably not. 

The start of senior year has been strange and exciting for lots of reasons: the trials and tribulations of off-campus housing, reconnecting with old friends, enjoying the freakishly good weather, and more. And yet, since classes have started, reality has started to set in in a big way. I wouldn’t quite call it a Quarter Life Crisis yet — I haven’t gotten a tattoo, bleached my hair, or joined the Marines — but my priorities have changed. And I don’t seem to be alone. For many seniors, Shopping Period has been a whole lot more stressful the 7th time around.

You would think we’d be old pros at this game by now. You would think we’d jump out of bed on Wednesday morning, rainbow-colored carts filled to the brim with all-star professors and really cool classes that you would never have heard of if your roommate’s boyfriend’s older brother hadn’t been in them, ready to take on our final year on College Hill. Sadly, some other concerns have gotten in the way of a smooth beginning to our our victory lap:

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Science lecture

(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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