It’s not often that once you declare your major you get to branch outside of your field, or really even know what is going on in another department. As an English major, I pretty much just camp out in Classic Hall, especially since it also houses my minors, and am oblivious to anything else academic occurring on campus.
So when a psychology major friend of mine invited me to meet the rat he is teaching for an upper-level psych course, I was all over it. Not only because I am an animal lover, but because I was genuinely interested in what goes on over in Science Center.
They didn’t let me down. While I read Chaucer, Shelley and Faulkner, those who study the sciences are doing complex experiments (not that I would ever switch majors, I’m just jealous I don’t get a rat to hang out with while reading great works of literature).
I was introduced to my friend’s rat, was allowed to see him scurry about one of the labs and I even got to pet him. For those who are beside themselves thinking that I was excited and willing to spend my time petting a rat, don’t worry. He was adorable and really just looked like a big, sweet hamster.
In this particular course, the students will train their rats and by the end of the semester will hopefully have conditioned their rats to go through a maze or complete a task. Students choose their own task and if they need a maze, they build it themselves.
This experience was one I had never really thought about; really we all just go about our days without thinking about what the other majors do with their class time. Sure, we have minors or take LADR courses but it is rare for us to find ourselves out of our major and in an upper-level, intensive class.
It made me wonder what happens in CFA in the art studios, in the music rooms, what do those junior and senior Spanish majors do during their class sessions? It would be great to get a chance to experience these passions firsthand and now that I know what I’m looking for, I find myself wandering through various class buildings during the day with my eyes and ears open. After all, you never know when you will learn something new.