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.

Principles of Economics (ECON0110): It’s a rat race in there. iPads abound. Either you’re there because your parents really think it would be good for you, or because you actually love that stuff. For those in the “love” category, Principles is gonna be your jumping off point. If you do as well as you expected to, you’ll surely be talking about whether you want to take Macro or Micro come spring. Soon after, you may find yourself actually using the Stocks App on your iPhone and thinking about game theory. Before you know it, everything will relate to supply and demand. Just be careful with that second midterm.

Management of Industrial and Nonprofit Organizations (ENGN0090): This one is perhaps best explained by the t-shirts students are willing to purchase just because they have the professor’s face on them. The man himself, Barrett Hazeltine, and his red sweater are both legends.

Social Psychology (CLPS0700): I’m a bit guilty here. If you find yourself citing psychological studies when you talk to your roommates about how the weekend went, you may have caught the bug. You’ll begin to want to give everything a name, like “the multiple day all-nighter recovery principal” or “social-academic library ratio.” It’ll become difficult to distinguish between conversations about your life and your friends’ lives and the case studies you read about for class.

The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience (NEUR0010): Your backpack will be heavy and your outlets for free expression littered with brain related vocabulary. Students of NEUR0010 are marked by their lack of sleep and undying interest in chain reactions and neurotransmitters. They’re often caught pondering how much more there is to discover about the brain.

Shopping period exists for classes like these. They breed such die-hard approaches to learning because they are so (rightfully) relevant to almost any student. Each of the five classes I have listed above is extremely relatable to most areas of study. Go see for yourself if you’re destined to be that environmental, economic, entrepreneur, psych, or neuro kid, and consider taking one of these greatest hits!

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