Concentration-specific Halloween costumes

pug univron

Why can’t we all just major in Pug Studies?

When we were little, Halloween was a time to stuff ourselves with candy and feel absolutely no “ragrets“. We didn’t even have to try that hard with our costumes, since little kids are inherently adorable, except when they’re not and make fun of your unibrow (I was supposed to be Frida Kahlo, you uncultured miniature Spider-Man).

As we grew older, our trick-or-treat bags got smaller, and so did our outfits (in a cloth-to-body ratio). But, if all you really want to do is impress your friends with a punny, socially relevant costume, here are a few concentration-specific costumes to bring out the cool kid in you:


spooky physics post

Spooky action at a distance

Wear a shirt with a down arrow, force have a friend wear a shirt of the same color and an up arrow, and stay really, really far away from each other.

Schrödinger’s Cat

cat's post

Or, to spice things up…

Throw on some cat ears and wear a box. Bonus points if you’re wearing this shirt. Oh, and it’s also advisable to stay away from the flask of poison.

String theory

Stick some thread on you, and go around baffling everyone. If you want to be really adventurous, go around handing string cheese. Physics majors are welcome to shrink down to the Planck length for a more accurate representation.

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A Valentine’s Day guide to concentration-oriented pick-up lines

We’ve all been there. You’re at a rollicking social event, a certain special someone catches your eye, and you want to make a lasting connection — but you’ve exhausted the standard name/grade/concentration introductory trifecta. Where to move from there, with Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching on the calendar?

Thankfully, elaborating upon the diverse array of concentrations offered here at Brown University is perfect for taking the conversation one step forward. Pretend like you actually know a thing or two about their field of study and woo the person of your choice just in time for February 14th with this collection of romantic, concentration-oriented phrases:



He/she/phe says: “I’m concentrating in Chemistry.”

You say: “Interesting. Tell me, are you sensing any chemistry right now?”


peter green

He/she/phe says: “Oh, I concentrate in History.”

You say: “History? Sounds like my ex-girlfriend/ex-boyfriend. Speaking of which, are you single?”

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Super Smash Brown, Part 2



One installment just isn’t enough to cover all of the concentrations and characters between Brown and Smash Bros. So, without further ado, let’s see what character suits your concentration.

Link: Business

Link is a character from the tried and true Legend of Zelda series, and mirrors the idea of business school as a safe bet. He’s a jack of all trades, with access to a sword, shield, bow, bombs, and boomerang. Whatever the situation, whether in the business world or the heat of battle, you’re confident that you have the tools to pull through. The odd thing about Link is that he never speaks. He’s occasionally expressive, but in most Zelda games he isn’t much of a character. Business school is useful, but you won’t fool anyone into thinking it’s interesting.

Psychology: Jigglypuff

This might seem like an odd connection, but it has everything to do with how Jigglypuff plays as a character. As a psychology major, your studies have granted you an understanding of the intricate workings of the human mind. Playing well with Jigglypuff is all about mind games, faking people out until you can land Rest, one of the strongest moves in the game. You and Jigglypuff may feign innocence, but we know better. You’re dissecting our minds, and indexing weak points. Diabolical, the pair of you.

Religious Studies: Pit/Dark Pit

These two angelic characters are a natural fit for religious studies, wielding divinely empowered weapons and soaring, winged, above the competition. Your choice between the two comes down to how you feel about religion as a whole. If you believe it benefits the human endeavor, the forthright Pit is for you. If you’re cynical about the value of religion in present-day society, or even about its value in the past, the twisted clone Dark Pit would suit you better. You might respond, “That’s a false dichotomy.” Well, there’s no Gray Pit, so you’ll just have to suck it up.

Physics: Rosalina and Luma

Physics is the study of the forces that hold our universe together. Rosalina and Luma, wielding the power of the stars themselves, are a natural fit for your concentration. The complexity of maneuvering two characters at once doesn’t faze you due to your experience with hellishly complicated equations. (Writer’s note: At this point, I couldn’t remember if Rosalina had feet or not, so I made the naive error of Google Image searching “Rosalina feet,” on a public computer, no less. You don’t have to make my mistakes. You don’t have to see what I’ve seen.) However, if the complexity gets to be too much for you, you can always default to flinging star bit projectiles at people. Buttons other than “B” are needlessly complicating the Smash experience, so we’ll just think of them as friction and forget about them.

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Super Smash Brown



Nintendo has recently graced us with a new entry in the Super Smash Bros series, and the addictive mix of fast-paced gameplay and an utterly ridiculous premise has spirited away more of my time than I care to admit. A funny thing about Smash Bros is that the character you pick can reveal a fair bit about your personality (e.g. picking Meta Knight in Brawl probably means you’re a sociopath.). The parallels between picking characters and picking concentrations at Brown are actually quite striking. Here are just a few of the cast members followed by the department into which I see they best fit.

Fox: Computer Science

The getting’s good now, but it may have been even better in the early ’00s. If you persevere with Fox, you will do well because of how damn good he is (pro tip: the Reflector is insane), but this is neither surprising nor impressive. You picked a good character, so of course you’re going to do well. You will often express wonder at the idea that anyone would choose to play a character other than Fox. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in frequent discussion with other Fox players, debating the minutiae of his techniques and all the best ways to apply them. “No items. Fox only. Final Destination.” will become your credo. The rest of the world will not understand, and will think you’re boring. They’re right.

Kirby: English

You will actively defend your character/concentration choice against the common opinion that it’s disadvantageous. Back in the first Smash, Kirby was much stronger, and you will try futilely to replicate that power in the modern era. Kirby’s absorption power mirrors your encounters with literature: you take it in, and spend a short period viewing the world through the eyes of the author you read, taking on the identities of their characters. We’ve all done this, and found ourselves thinking about how clever we are after reading a detective story. This period is mercifully cut short when someone finally smacks you upside the head. You then go looking for your next literary/B-move fix.

Ganondorf and Captain Falcon: Math and Applied Math

These two characters have incredibly similar move sets, though Ganondorf has become less of a clone in each game since he appeared in Melee. The thing is, Captain Falcon is essentially a better version of Ganondorf,. His moves still hit very hard, and he’s faster by a large margin. Furthermore, you get the flying knee and the Falcon Punch, two of the most satisfying moves you can land in all of Smash Bros. Captain Falcon is more or less the man, even if he is a weirdo. Why are you picking Ganondorf? I think you just want to make things difficult for yourself. Just remember when solving equations: Show me ya moves. Solutions don’t just pop out of thin air.

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Game of Concentrations: You either declare, or you die

It’s been a long year since Game of Thrones Season 3 premiered, and, if you’re like me, you’re probably dying for the show’s return. Despite last season being a bit… red, it left fans everywhere begging for more. Well get excited, because GoT comes back this Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO (or HBO GO, ain’t nobody got time for actual TV). In honor of the show’s return — and today’s concentration declaration deadline for sophomores — we’ve decided to determine how the houses of Westeros correlate to Brown concentrations.

So recap yourself on all the people who’ve died all the events of last season, figure out your concentration, and find which house speaks to you.

House Lannister – Economics

This one is obvious. Nobody knows the market quite like the Lannisters; they’re always swimming in cash. The Lannisters would be that one kid in your economics section answering all the questions while everyone else copies it down. After all, a Lannister always pays his debts.


House Targaryen – Political Science 

The Targaryens are all about politics. They’re probably UCS president and the head of every major group on campus. If someone steals their spot, they come for them with a nasty sense of revenge. A lesser known fact is that they’re double concentrating with Chemistry, but that’s mainly just so they can set stuff on fire.


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Why humanities? Paxson weighs in

That scarf though

Questions concerning the worth of humanities may have always been present, but these concerns have become an obsession nationally—perhaps internationally—this year. There was the Florida Governor who wanted to charge students more for majoring in the non-STEM subjects. The unequivocally titled New York Times article “The Decline and Fall of the English Major” was essentially a letter to us college students, begging us not to neglect the diminishing art of writing. Closer to home, there was the Herald‘s report that 54 percent of students were concentrating in 10 subjects of our offered 79, English being the only humanity to grace the top ten. We can blame the economy, the government, the man; at the end of the day, it just means I’m scared of the fact my shopping cart has such ‘impractical’ classes.

Late this summer, The New Republic published an article by our very own President Paxson praising the humanities from an economic standpoint. While it may seem studying Plato, who never had a good idea for an app, or Jane Austen, who I doubt would have been the ideal employee for McKinsey, is both irrelevant to success in today’s world and of less value to our society than, say, taking CS-0150, Paxson argues that not immediately seeing the importance of something doesn’t diminish its importance. Translation: Randomness is key. Weird knowledge can be weirdly useful knowledge. (I’m sure we’ve all also had about five professors talk about how class they randomly took  ‘changed their lives’—I find it adorable every time.) Paxson also argues the importance of humanities concentrators in considering our place in an increasingly globalized and technologically advanced world. Whether you agree with all her points or not, it’s something to consider before Banner locks us out.

Check out The New Yorker‘s take on Paxson’s piece here.

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