Monsters: High school friends revisited

I had a fairly idyllic high school experience. Having gone to a nerdy magnet school, I was able to have a modicum of popularity, and I seized it: I played the Fairy Godcalculator in the high school skit (I can make all your trignometry wishes come true!) and hosted cool balloon animal-themed parties. Every year, I return to the Washington D.C. area excited to revisit my roots and perhaps have an unedited LOTR marathon. And for the most part, it’s been great.

But college has not worked in everybody’s favor. Sometimes, you return for break and find that a university has taken your high school besties and created… monsters. And not in the way of the most anticipated blockbuster of summer 2013.

It’s only upon returning to Brown that one can come to appreciate how these monsters function. Through observations, hearsay, and a couple of incredibly awkward parties, I have compiled a list of the most monster-like high school archetypes: Continue Reading

TEDxBrownU videos make me feel good about myself

Especially as I reach the mid-point of my senior year, I have been over-rationalizing how I’ve used my time here at Brown. Yes. yes, I said that taking all those humanities classes taught me how to think and write and explore. But maybe, just maybe, I should have been been a science major? Maybe I should be taking computer science classes??? OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE.

TEDxBrownUniversity posted videos of eleven talks that were given at the event earlier this semester. I forgot to attend had other engagements, but alumni of Brown from many fields and careers talked about “life, learning and a liberal education.”

When everyone is annoyingly asking me “What are you doing after you graduate?” and “Are you going to law school?”, these videos remind me why I came here in the first place: to learn about something I’m passionate about, not to systematically determine the most profitable field. Some people are passionate about medicine, but I’m not. History is no less “real” and I truly believe that studying humanities has taught me how to be creative, curious, critical and innovative. I am (pretty) sure I’m not just saying that to make my future seem less horribly unclear.

Notice the use of the word “unpack” at 2:02 in the video above, and watch the rest of the videos here.

Yeah, I’m like…liberal

Heated rhetoric. Pack mentalities. Buzzwords. Embarrassing gulfs between words and actions. Sound like Washington? According to a new study, it’s just you.

UCLA researchers, in a survey of college freshmen across the United States, found that all that squawking on behalf of liberal causes is actually just part of a trend indicating all talk, no walk… sigh. Among other findings reported in the Chronicle of Higher Ed,  71 percent of freshmen are in favor of same-sex marriage and almost half advocate marijuana legalization. In the realm of substantive activity, however, the freshmen falter. A paltry 6 percent planned to participate in political protests on campus. Moreover, results revealed a roughly 5 percent drop in student participation in campaigns at any level of government from previous years. Rather than spur political activity, the fictional travails of Leslie Knope and the Pawnee Parks Department have apparently only encouraged us to draw sophisticated parallels between Ron Swanson and an actual libertarian named Ron. Comments on the study’s significance after the jump. Continue Reading

Beast op-ed says B.A. overvalued

In a recently published piece on The Daily Beast, Professor X challenges the majority of American educators, economists and employers by claiming that a bachelor’s degree isn’t valuable. You might be wondering who Professor X is, besides a nerdy writer fulfilling his childhood dream of growing up to be a wheelchair-bound, British, mind-reading mutant. Well, he’s actually a community/private college professor (and college degree holder) slash author who wrote a book about his accidental foray into academia and has since become a critic of widespread university education. This most recent piece frames the college premium as an “artificial construct” and goes on to stress how little effect a B.A. has on the skills of employees who earn more than their high school-educated counterparts. Read more after the jump. Continue Reading

Study abroad, drink more?

As it’s beginning to reach mid-October, students–sophomores, especially–are starting to think about where they might find themselves in the world, studying abroad, next year. When trying to decide where to go, there are lots of things to consider: do I want to spend three months in this country? Will I get to travel around? What will I be studying? How will I meet people? Will I speak the language?

These are all important things to consider, but according to The Huffington Post, there may be one more thing to add to your list of considerations: booze. An article in The Huffington Post entitled, “Students Learning Abroad Increase Drinking: Study,” declares, “Students who go abroad while in college are likely to increase or even double their alcohol intake while they’re away, a new study has found.” Maybe not, but isn’t that kind of obvious? In most other countries, drinking under the age of 21 is either totally legal or not a problem. And the survey mirrors that fact saying, “Students who were less than the legal drinking age in the United States increased their drinking while abroad by about 170 percent…The overall increase was about 105 percent.” It makes sense that if the drinking age is legal and you’re studying away from home, you’re probably going to drink more. But worry not, concerned citizens remaining on campus — your peers’ new drinking habits won’t stick with them when they return to their U.S. campus.

So if you’re considering studying abroad in Europe, Australia, or New Zealand, you may want to keep this so called “spring-break drinking culture” in mind.

In case you’re planning on creating the next Facebook…

…you might want to consider that a classmate at Brown might write an article about you, including things about how you were in college, years later.

On the dawn of the release of movie “The Social Network” former classmate of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg–Rebecca Davis O’Brien–wrote an article for The Daily Beast about Zuckerberg. In the article she talks about how the movie portrays Zuckerberg’s story and how she actually saw it playing out when they were at Harvard. Details include that his AEPI “freshman frat” name was “Slayer.” Boys with “frat” names may want to take special note of this revelation.