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March 14, 2013

Down the rabbit hole and through the red door.

In the middle of campus, behind Jonas Clark, between the Academic Commons and Bullock Hall, there stands a red door in a white archway. There’s no sign, no reasoning, no plaque that details what it’s about. In one sense, I can just imagine some Psychology student looking down from the 5th floor of Jonas Clark, cackling maniacally scribbling down every observation and note as I walk around it confused to high Freuds on why it’s there.

But you know, I think it means a lot. There’s a door, in the most random of places, and you have the choice to open the door or to let it just pass. You might have an idea on what’s on the other side — but you can never be 100% sure. It’s easy enough to pass by — you might not even end up taking the proper path to see it for a few weeks. But the point is that given the proper paths, given the correct set of circumstances, and a little bit of risk to find out what’s on the other side, and then find out what’s out there.

“And now Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”

So, how does this relate to me? Well, I might have mentioned that I’m taking my first Political Science course this year. It’s with Professor Karen Williams,and the title of the course is Religion and International Relations. My created minor is Cultural Religious Symbols, and it’s a fantastic course and she’s a fantastic professor. But one day she just happened to quickly mention the idea of a directed study to students who are interested.

DIRECTED STUDY!? RESEARCH PAPER!? NO CLASS TIME!? Count me in!

But I’m not a Poli Sci major. I’m a psychology major (who at this point, wished he double majored in political science) with no background in Political Science (no introductory classes). Surely she meant it was major specific?

Not seen here: Topanga, my first school boy crush.

Nope! One email and office meeting later, I’ll be doing a directed/independent study on sacred symbols within international relations (book burning, drawings of Mohammad, etc.) with using cultural psychology. I’m not sure exactly what the specific question is yet, but just by asking a simple, “I’m interested in X. Can I study it with you?” lead me to this awesome opportunity.

I talk a lot about psychology, my research within it, how easy it is to get involved if you really want to… but one could just say “Oh, that’s just because of that one professor.” Well checkmate, doubters. Here I am, a psychology major, doing PSCI 292 (the second highest undergraduate political science course barring Honors at 299) just because I asked. Just because I opened the red door that was in front of me.

Each college you’ll look at will provide you with a numerous amount of doors. Some the hinges will be broken. Some will have traps on the other side. Some will fall over as soon as you touch it. Some will be a door just to lead to another door. But it’s your choice to look at all the different doors each environment will bring to you and decide which set of doors you want to be able to choose from — and which doors you will open and which doors you will close.

What path will you pick? (Also is it terrible I’ve never watched any of these movies?)

**Oh, and shout out to The Triana Center and all of it’s lovely art/studio/photography/art history majors. Whoever did the door – I love it!

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