On the TAC great books program

I got an email from Fr. Nick Blaha, the chaplain of the Didde Center at Emporia State University. I met Fr. Blaha on the March for Life a couple years ago; he’s a great guy and I hope you all get to meet him one day.

His email was about the High School Great Books program at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California (in Southern California between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara), where students get to engage some of the greatest pieces of literature in human history.

From their website (http://thomasaquinas.edu/admission/high-school-summer-program):

July 19 – August 1, 2015
Each summer for two weeks, high school students from around the country join members of the teaching faculty on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College for spirited conversation, engaging firsthand some of the best works of the past 2,500 years. They read and discuss works selected from the masters of the Western intellectual tradition, including Plato, St. Athanasius, Euclid, Sophocles, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, St. Thomas Aquinas and Pascal. It is a time for forging new friendships, for enjoying the give and take of rational argument, and for pursuing the truth, which civilizes, ennobles, and liberates.

This is the kind of stuff that changes the world. For the better and for real.

The program is for current-year juniors. Current-year sophomores should remember this for next summer. (I wonder if they take adults? Or if I could pass for a high school junior? My potential disguise: driving poorly, carrying a backpack, and complaining about math. Don’t blow my cover.)

Fr. Blaha is the Chaplain of the program and, if you can get a recommendation from him, it’s worth a $200 discount.

On the way to dress for success

Oh hey look what I found:

It turns out that when people dress up in business attire (say, a suit and tie) rather than casual clothes, it changes the way their brains work. It shifts the brains into abstract, big-picture-thinking-mode.

After testing people’s thought patterns in relation to the formality of their attire, researchers found that suit-wearers felt more powerful, and this encouraged them to think about the big picture rather than getting hung up on the details. Or in psychology terms, donning a suit encouraged ‘abstract processing’ rather than ‘concrete processing’.

In a similar study, researchers found that the emotional baggage of how we dress will carry over into our thinking. They asked some people to wear white jackets and said that it was a painter’s smock, and put other people into the same kind of white jacket and said it was a doctor’s lab coat, then asked the people to run some brain activities. The people in the “lab coats” were more attentive to details and showed stronger brain activity than people in the “painter’s smock”.

I have a related topic to study: does having an untucked shirt relate to academic achievement, or can you raise your GPA simply by dressing for success rather than dressing for slouching?

Stay tuned for more.