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

barefootPaxson

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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FALL2013: Course Superlatives

FALL2013

Right now, the only class that most of us plan on shopping anytime soon is SUMR2013: Introduction to Tanning. But preregistration for the fall semester is in just a few days, and the only course in my cart is WTF0010: Am I doing with my life? Fortunately, Brown professors are also into coming up with clever course titles, making the process of searching through Banner’s offerings much more entertaining.

I looked through all—yes, all—2000+ courses listed for next fall, and while I can’t tell you how to fit all those pre-med requirements into your schedule, I can definitely tell you the courses that are the MOST…

…twinning
ENGN1930N: Introduction to Magnetic Resonance Imaging
CLPS1490: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Theory and Practice

…identical twinning
POLS0820D: Freedom
POLS2350: Freedom

…punny
ARCH0270-S01: Troy Rocks! Archaeology of an Epic

…difficult to convince parents to spend tuition on
ENGL1762A: Perverse Cinema
TAPS1281Q: Introduction to Dance Studies: Sex, Death and Endurance

…oddly specific
AFRI1630: Modernist Africana Poetry of the Americas
SANS2120: The Development of Yoga and Sāṃkhya in Early Indian Thought

…deceptively easy-sounding but really 2000-level
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BlogDH Panel: Finding a Valentine in class

A few days ago, I decided I wanted to write a post about which classes are best for meeting a partner (definitely not because I wanted to construct a schedule using those classes). After receiving input from several Blog colleagues, I realized that rather than compile their ideas and give myself credit for them, we could compile their ideas and give their actual owners credit for them (in the interest of full disclosure, this concept was adapted from Grantland). So, after a week’s worth of begging for submissions, here are nine classes to find your Valentine in. By total coincidence, I’m registered for a few of them myself. Shopping period ends at 5 p.m. today, so you better get in these classes soon if you’re looking at a shot at love.
–David Oyer 

(BlogDH) Meet People

CHEM0350: Organic Chemistry
Organic chemistry might as well be called orgasmic chemistry. Somewhere in the depths of despair lies hidden a golden opportunity for meeting people. You spend ungodly amounts of time studying together; there’s terminology like “back-side attack”; and if you run out of things to talk about, you can always bitch about reaction mechanisms. Shared interests might bring people together, but shared hatreds get you friends and lovers.
Jason Hu

CLPS0700: Social Psychology
Social Psych features 80-minute lectures on topics such as “Attraction and Intimate Relationships” and “Emotion.” ‘Nuff said. Then again, all the women in the class were in love with the professor, so it’s not like I ever really had a shot.
Will Janover Continue Reading