(Don’t) Shop till you drop

Between navigating classes, settling into new housing, and maintaining a social life, the first few weeks of school are hectic and, frankly, draining.    

This is probably you right now-I know it’s me.

As someone with anxiety, the pressures of shopping period become a maelstrom of stressors triggering worries about how my decisions now may affect the entirety of my time at Brown. Only a few days into shopping period I’m already experiencing debilitating levels of anxiety as my brain crowds itself with worst case scenarios about coursework and juggling my activities.


The stress simply mounts when I look around and see that others don’t seem as overwhelmed as I am — though I realize that isn’t necessarily true.

We’re all familiar with the way our school’s character is marketed: Brown students are chill, laidback … happy. I remember touring campus as a prospective student and hearing that Brown students were rated the happiest in the country a few years prior. It’s an appealing idea, though misleading, and I’ve found that concerns about struggling while everyone else seems unfazed are very common amongst Brown students.

We’re all trying to act like we’re never more than just a little stressed about school.

But I’ve learned that it’s okay to be stressed about school, or whatever it is that’s on your mind. I assure you that other people are.

Last May, I attended an Active Minds event entitled “Am I the ideal Brown student”. This came at a very stressful period for me, right at the end of second semester. Finals were in a few weeks, and while I panicked regularly about how in the world to handle all of the studying and essay writing in my impending future, I watched my friends handle their own coursework with apparent ease.

Why do they always seem so relaxed?

I went to this discussion feeling decidedly convinced that I was not the ideal Brown student, that I stressed too much, that I should be able to handle my work with the same casual flair everyone else seemed to possess. But the more people opened up, the more I understood that I’m not the only one who worries, who feels alarmed by the work ahead of me, who doubts myself and my ability to measure up to my peers.

This year, as I trudge through shopping period, I endeavor to keep this lesson in mind. We are all stressed, and that is perfectly normal. We have a right to our anxieties, and we have the ability to work through them.

So breathe.

Some suggestions:

  • Drink a soothing tea. (Chamomile is very mild and soothes an upset stomach.)
  • Engage in physical activity to naturally improve your mood.
  • Meditation in Manning Chapel from 4-5 p.m. (available every day and to people of all experience levels).
  • Strive to reconceptualize long-term goals as a series of short-term goals — believe me, this is an easier burden to bear.
  • Engage in a level of social activity most beneficial to your academic goals and mental health-balance.
  • Get away from campus for a few hours. Take a trip to Blackstone Park or go on a walk in downtown Providence.
  • Treat yo’ self, but also remember that self-care includes staying on task so as not to perpetuate further anxiety in the future.

How to get off the waitlist

waitlistInterests at Brown may vary, but for anyone who dabbles in electives, the desire to get into a class off a waitlist is nearly universal.

Maybe you’re an underclassmen, and your dream class was filled before you even got the chance to register. Maybe you’re a lazy senior who didn’t feel like waking up at 8 a.m. to solidify your shopping cart. While some have walked into a classroom they didn’t have a spot in, thought, “this syllabus is [insert fire emoji]”, and immediately started plotting on how to secure that override, others get immediately intimidated by that throng of people huddled by the door and decide to try their luck elsewhere. We’re here to help.

Sort of. We’re probably legally, and certainly morally obligated to suggest that you don’t try any of the methods listed below (although some of them are actually…good ideas?). But, for those of you that have more than a drop of Slytherin in their veins, here are some quasi-acceptable (read: not at all acceptable) ways to get off of those waitlists.

  • Fake an email to half of the registered class that the registrar has switched the room assignment. Reap the benefits of their naivety.
  • Legally change your name to whoever holds the first spot on the waitlist.

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Pollerbears: Shopping period is ending…


Don’t you love the first week of school? You get to be excited about classes and yet have no work for them because maybe you’re just ~shopping~. While I know the whole not-knowing-your-schedule thing can stress people out, I personally love shopping, be it for classes, groceries, or on Etsy.

But sadly, all good things come to an end. You better know what you’re taking because fee-free registration, and shopping period, officially ends at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Also coming to an end: the lax attitude about work that one enjoys in the first few, hectic weeks of school. There will, sadly, be no excuse for not having bought the books. Sections will be starting… Assignments might even be coming up. So are you guys going to the library tonight? (I haven’t been yet…)

Is it time to start working?

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(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

PSA: Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 classes are up on Banner

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 3.41.36 AMWith all of the hype surrounding the announcement of BCA’s SW 15 lineup, some pretty exciting news slipped by: all classes for next year are up on Banner. Don’t panic, though, you have plenty of time between now and April 14th, the beginning of pre-registration, to figure out your cart. Freshmen need to get their advising PIN at some point between March 30th and April 10th in order to have a smooth and successful pre-registration; sophomores have the more intimidating task of declaring their concentration before April 1st in order to be able to pre-register.

Since our minds are already on vacation, there’s no need to sweat it before spring break [Ed’s note: Unless you are a sophomore who has no idea what you’re going to declare and has told no one about it — then maybe contact your advisor ASAP!]. Freshmen and sophomores, just keep your potential concentration requirements in mind and you’ll be good. Juniors, start planning the rest of your time at Brown. Soon the days of constant streams of midterms, Providence weather, and summer planning will be long gone, and we’ll be looking for a little fix of Brown.

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Friendly Reminder: Shopping Period ends today


“Wow, I love that we can access Banner on this shiny doohickey!” “I know! Technology these days! But why did we have to go to the Gap to do this?”

After a brief extension due last week’s snow storm, today is finally the last day of shopping period. Hopefully by now you’ve narrowed down from the 20 classes you had in your cart at the start of the semester. If not, the deadline to add a classes without a fee is today at 5 p.m. 

At 5 p.m. Banner will be taken down for an hour, at which point all course additions will require an instructor override and a $15 fee. The deadline to add a course with a fee, change from audit to credit, or switch between letter grade and S/NC, is Wednesday, February 18.

Happy last day of Shopping Period!

Image via Jokichi Matsubara ’18.