A chair-spective on things

The ubiquitous chair. The companion of human laziness since chairs were referred to as “sitting things.” They were around even before the first human to ever sit, ever sat. Probably.

But if only they could speak. Oh, the stories they’d tell.

Luckily, while I was pulling an all-nighter for a midterm, a chair started talking to me.

If you thought Brown students were cool, wait till you hear what Brown chairs have to say.

chair

 

Me: “So, Mr. Chair, how is it like being a chair?”

Chair: *shivers* “All this booty..”

Me: “Do you have a name?”

Chair: “All this booty.”

Me: “…”

Chair: “Sorry about that. Booty got me day-dreamin’.

I guess it’s not all that bad. It pays the bills.

The name’s Fred, by the way.”

Me: “Okay, Fred. Can you stop talking about butts?

My audience may not approve.”

Fred: “Uhm. Rude. It’s literally on my mind every day.

So excuse me.”

Me: “I’m so–”

Fred: “And you know what’s worse?

I’m not even into butts! People just don’t seem to get it.”

Me: “Can I j–”

Fred: “Standing is a social construct.”

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Tips on how not to study

Student-Studying

A Brown student studying hard.

Midterm season has arrived in full-force these past few weeks. This has motivated countless students to settle down among the stacks, open their books and laptops, and revisit their old classroom notes and problem sets in an effort to succeed at all the challenges that Brown offers to them. Filled with personal discipline, an ability to delay gratification, and above all else a striving passion to perform, these devoted students will approach their exams and essays with a deep confidence in their abilities, a focused and prepared mind, and several nights of undisturbed sleep.

Here are some tips that might help you and other students avoid their looming work for the next cycle of midterms.

1. Think About How Much You Work You Have

There’s nothing better to distract you from studying than to think about how much work you have. I mean, really try to ponder it—all of the material that you’re responsible for in each class, how many words you’ll have to write in total for your essays—whatever it is, just make sure you’re very aware of how much you’ll need to accomplish in the next week. For the next step in not working, try to imagine the worst possible consequences that could happen if you screwed up. Linger on all of this for a few hours, and you’ll be well on your way to not getting anything done.

This pretty much identical to the one before it.

Identical to the one before, except this guy seems more stressed.

2. Talk to Other People About How Much Work You Have

Closely related to number one, a great way to be unproductive is to complain to others about how much you have to do in the upcoming weeks. Parents, friends, acquaintances, random people in line at the Ratty, all can be effectively used as tools to avoid finishing work. Try to distract them from their own work as you complain, so they become more anxious about what they have to do as well. The less industrious the people are around you, the better you’ll be at not studying.

But remember: always make sure that they know that you, ultimately, have it much harder than them, and are worthy of their sympathy.

Does anyone study with all these books?

Has anyone ever studied with that many books?

3. Wait to Talk to a TA or go to Office Hours

If you really want to make sure you that you feel unaccomplished by the weekend, never start work on anything until you’re fully sure that you have the approval and understanding of your professor and/or TA. Go during peak hours of their schedule so you’ll have to wait in a long line, and never ask them direct questions related to your work, because remember,  you haven’t started that. Instead, focus on broad, generic ideas that they have already mentioned in class, or ideally would be answered either on the syllabus or prompt—things that will bring you no closer to sitting down and working. But be careful, you might accidentally leave feeling productive, so try to remain skeptical of whatever advice they have to offer.

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What we’re reading

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu...

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu…

We’ll start off with an article that’ll make you feel better about your debauchery (or Netflix use) this weekend: Laurence Steinberg of the New York Times’ “The Case for Delayed Adulthood,” which, for a change, defends millennials and our stunted growth spurts.

For the linguist: Slate‘s “Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat?” an excerpt of Dan Jurafsky’s newly released book, The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu, which questions whether or not our names for food items are arbitrary or actually sound like they taste.

The New York Times released a beautiful series of photographs devoted to exploring “Children of Immigrants” in America.

Then, there’s Emma Watson putting her Brown University education to work (she actually said that gender was a spectrum) at the United Nations:

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Sextion: Sex (during Reading) Period

Finals Sextion

When you’re stressed out, what’s your coping mechanism? We all know that inhaling several slices of pizza can be a great temporary relief, but have you ever thought about sex as a study break option?

If you’ve spent all day hunched over a desk trying to cram as much into your brain as possible, chances are, sitting on Reddit for half an hour before crashing in bed is not going to give you the kind of release your body needs.

You need something that stretches out your muscles, gets your mind off of school, and gives you serious endorphins. You could always go to the gym, but let’s be real; none of the gyms are open when you’re done with the night’s work. Plus, nothing helps you fall asleep like a nice trip to O-Town.

In addition to the short-term gratification, sex has some serious long-term benefits for your reading period health:

For those of you non-bio concentrators, just so you know, oxytocin is an awesome hormone and has some serious credentials when it comes to reducing stress. It reduces cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress. If your body is not given the opportunity to decompress, that cortisol does not go away. It then continues to build up until eventually your body falls into a cycle of chronic stress.  Unlike endorphins, you aren’t going to get a shot of oxytocin from running on a treadmill because your body releases it when you experience physical contact with another person. It helps you feel more comfortable and secure and puts a serious dent in the levels of cortisol circulating in your bloodstream.

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Heavy Petting is today!

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Despite having just returned to campus, it seems we are all already living in the Rock/SciLi/(Gourmet) Hell. But, fear not. This week is not devoid of little pleasures. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today (yes, that means in less than an hour!), Heavy Petting will be on the Main Green! Brought to you by the wonderfully empathetic people at Health Services, today’s round, while not “super,” will feature professors and their dogs and can be sure to calm even the most stressed soul, especially those who yanked away from lounging with their pups at home and thrown into another round of midterms (can they just end already?!). Plus, it’s finally actually nice out. At least in a Providence way. Prepare to overhear some weird shit.
Image via.

Pizza Nite returns tonight and tomorrow!

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The onset of finals means the return of a semesterly tradition: Pizza Nite at the SciLi and Rock.

For those of you who are freshmen, or just haven’t experienced it before, Pizza Nite is a semesterly event sponsored by Campus Life and the University Library featuring tons of free pizza as well as apples, cookies, and other snacks.

At its core, Pizza Nite isn’t really that special. It’s just a free pizza event, like the many others on campus. But it distinguishes itself in two ways:

1) The sheer volume of pizza. Several semesters ago, the total stood at 90 pizzas for the SciLi and 80 for the Rock — a little bit more than your typical free pizza shenanigans (and minus having to pretend to care about the student group or lecture that’s serving it).

2) The spectacle. Mainly due to #1, Pizza Nite usually attracts a pretty large crowd. And often the Madrigals singing carols.

It’s happening tonight in the Rock lobby and tomorrow night in the SciLi basement, both at 9 p.m. We’ll see you there!