That [Survey Course] Kid

You may know that kid from the first row of Principles of Econ, or from the Canvas page for Social Psychology. Having trouble spotting him? Look for a glint in his eyes when he talks about Environmental Studies or Neuroscience. That [Survey Course] Kids are everywhere.

Survey courses have the potential to induce this fervor and enthusiasm  in any and all students, especially when we’re feeling uninspired — trolling for a passion. And as indecisive American college students, we’re always ready to hop on the bandwagon of the next big thing. Trust me. I read the Social Psychology textbook cover to cover last year and proceeded to tout it as my second concentration. I now actively insert terms like “cognitive dissonance” into my everyday conversations. It’s infectious.

Here are some course offerings that tend to ignite such enthusiasm. Keep them in mind as you take a look at what you’ve just pre-registered for. Any of the mentioned courses could be just what you (underclassmen) are looking for in a new direction:

Humans, Nature, and the Environment: Addressing Environmental Change in the 21st Century (ENVS0110): First you’ll start recycling. Then you’ll purchase a bike on Craigslist. And before you know it, you’ll be making your own granola every week. This introduction to Environmental Studies offers a perfectly relevant platform for an invigorating academic obsession. With discussion section in Brown’s quaint University Environmental Laboratory — where one finds him/herself surrounded by a kitchen and an organic garden while discussing sustainability on the reg — it’s hard not to feel the cool factor of this area of interest. Everyone who passes through this building seems to have the passion that you seek. It’s tempting. Continue Reading

PsychPowerGod: Is Facebook Bumming Us Out?

From taking exams to taking shots, from attending section to having sexction, from smoking Buddha to learning about Buddha, college is defined by a variety of experiences. Whether you know it or not, all of these experiences affect your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This new series hopes to explore and discuss the psychology behind phenomena you might otherwise overlook. Item one on the menu is the depressive nature of Facebook:

Let’s be real. When was the last time you were stalking that person’s Facebook whom you secretly admire (be patient, Valentines Day is near!) and found yourself thinking, “Wow. This person has a lot of friends and seems to be having an inordinate amount of fun in every one of his/her photos.”

According to a recent article in Slate Magazine, Facebook may be, in fact, making us feel crummy. And seeing as depression is on the rise in college students, is it possible that Facebook is to blame? Continue Reading