How to Seem Intelligent in the Upcoming School Year

With the impending start of the fall semester, many of us are itching to just get back on campus. This also means in-person classes and activities, but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we haven’t been able to get to know each other as well as we should. One thing remains true: perception is key. Although that seems superficial, it … Okay, this intro is getting long. Here are a few things you can do to make yourself look smarter.

Know Your Way Around

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Usually, the innocent freshman can expect a sage, experienced upperclassmen to tell them where to go. That becomes a little more difficult when about one-third of them are in the exact same boat, and unfortunately, there isn’t always going to be a helpful junior or senior around to come to the rescue. Before the confused masses start wandering across the lawns and around the halls, consider studying a map. In no time, your peers will depend on you, like boats to a lighthouse. That’s how you make friends: necessity.

Dress for Success

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For the past year or so, we’ve all had the privilege of dressing casually. Now that our peers are finally going to be able to see below our upper torsos, an upgrade is in order. Watch out folks: business casual (or better) has just become the new casual.

Buy a Fountain Pen

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There’s no joke here. Buy a fountain pen. Unless you’re willing to refill cartridges or, God forbid, toss them out when you’re done with them, buying a converter and an ink bottle is highly recommended (mileage depends on usage and nib size). Here are a few recommendations:

Pens:

Pilot Metropolitan: https://www.gouletpens.com/collections/pilot-metropolitan-fountain-pens/products/pilot-metropolitan-fountain-pen-black-plain?variant=11884884426795

Platinum Preppy: https://www.gouletpens.com/products/platinum-preppy-fountain-pen-black

(Tip: You can store ink using the entire body of the pen. To do this, you need an o-ring, silicone grease and a syringe/eyedropper. Here’s a how-to video: https://youtu.be/3qWXqOu3sfc?t=331)

Ink:

Diamine: https://www.gouletpens.com/collections/diamine?offset=24

LAMY: https://www.gouletpens.com/collections/lamy-ink?offset=0

Parker: https://www.penchalet.com/ink_refills/fountain_pen_ink/parker_quink_bottled_fountain_pen_ink.html

Paper:

Caliber Filler Paper: https://www.cvs.com/shop/caliber-filler-paper-college-ruled-prodid-183139

Take Notes on Paper

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Now that you have your nifty new fountain pen, it’s time to put it to good use. Taking physical notes has been known to boost understanding of the subject being written down, which makes it something worth considering. Though carrying around a binder can be a little inconvenient, what better way is there to show off your stationary and/or handwriting? You never know when your word processor is going to erase all your work.*

*based on author’s personal experience from writing this article

Read Your Professors’ Books

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You’re checking your physics professor’s profile on GU360. As you scroll down toward the bottom, reading about all of their greatest accomplishments, something catches your eye. They’ve written a book: “The Doppler Effect and Earthquakes.” Is it something that interests you? No. Should you read it? Yes. Even if you have no interest in the subject, reading your professor’s book can help you establish some credibility. You’re going to need something to gush about to your professor during office hours, after all. 

Familiarize Yourself with the Acronyms

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GUTS, GUSA, and GERMS, oh my! Georgetown does love acronyms, and confusingly enough, many of them begin with “GU.” Similar to memorizing a map of our campus, knowing all of them will help you stand out. People don’t need this information, per se, but it’s just helpful to know. By the way, how do you pronounce GUGS again?

Header Image: THE PEN SHOP

D.C. Boasts Strongest Brainpower in the Nation

WashingtonDC-IM2With midterms starting and the number of students spending late nights in Lau rising, many Hoyas are feeling stressed. But have no fear! At times like these, it’s important to take a step back and gain some perspective. Hopefully, a recently posted InTheCapital article can do just that.

In a new study produced by The Business JournalWashington, D.C., has come out as the biggest source of collective brain power in the country. Looking at 102 major markets and rating each market on its percentage of adults with high school diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees, the rankings placed D.C. at the top of the list. So, if Washington, D.C., earned the best brain power ranking (i.e, Washington, D.C. is smart) and Georgetown is located in Washington, D.C., then one can assume…

Of course, as humble men and women for others, Hoyas would never openly boast or brag. But, speaking as a completely objective third party with no personal interest in the matter, if The Business Journal, says so, why deny it?

To see more information on the study, which includes the District’s full percentages, click here. Study hard, Hoyas, and remember you can do it! Or at least do it long enough to get to spring break.

Photo: marvelmovies.wikia.com

Simply Science: We’re Dumber Than NHL Players

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Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t become a professional athlete, but then I remember how much I enjoy melted cheese and ice cream. (Not at the same time … well … maybe). When I realized the professional-athlete lifestyle wasn’t for me, I, like many of us, decided that paying inordinate amounts of money to go to college was the next best option. The perceived benefit? Becoming smarter and increasing my human capital, of course.

It turns out, however, that elite athletes (or ath-elites, if you will) do not only have better six-packs, better salaries and better health outlook; they’re smarter, too.

In a recent study, scientists tested English Premier League soccer players, NHL hockey players, France’s Top 14 club rugby players, and amateur ath-elites (it’s catchy, isn’t it?) and determined that their test subjects had more finely developed cognitive abilities than the average university student.

We mere mortals are potentially more eloquent than they are about things you might learn at college: the periodic table elements, the works of Chaucer or maybe even innovative drink recipes, but this study focused on ability. Subjects were asked to describe a series of simulated objects moving through three dimensions, thereby testing:

A Really Smart Dude

  1. Distribution of attention between a number of moving targets amongst distracters.
  2. Scope of field of vision.
  3. Maximum speed of objects one is able to follow.
  4. The ability to perceive depth.

The researchers were sure to design the study so that no sports-related experience or knowledge would help the participants. Each subject partook in 15 simulations, and, lo and behold, the professional athletes were able to learn how to track fast moving objects at a far superior rate than the other groups.

They observed that athletes were able to hyper-focus their attention to enhance learning. This might help explain observed increased cortical thickness in trained athletes’ brains and may lead new ways for exploring the treatment of people who have issues with attention, such as the elderly (and me during European History class).

It’s obvious that being good at a sport requires a certain level of mental processing and learning. But, according to researchers, it is unclear whether this superior ability is unique to professional athletes (and whether these are natural skills that helped them to be good athletes) or whether these skills have been developed through extensive training. Here exists the classic question of “causation or correlation?”

Although my four years of junior recreational soccer didn’t seem to pay off in Bib Lit last semester, it seems that sometimes we don’t give athletes enough credit. Einstein said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Apparently, it also has to do, in part, with the quality of your slapshot. (Yay for sports terminology!)

I do, however, have at least one critique of this study. They should specify where they got their samples when it comes to university students. If they equate an “average university student” with a Syracuse student … well, there’s your problem.

Photo: sbrsport.files.wordpress.com

*Simply Science is a reoccurring post that aims to make recent scientific discoveries accessible and applicable to the Georgetown student.