The Mind's Eye

Many moons ago I majored in history and minored in political science, but if I could go back in time I think I might have chosen psychology as a major.  How the brain works fascinates me.  While assembling admission files recently I started to think about how the brain associates objects with memories of times, places, actions, circumstances, people, and events.

For example, the Coca-Cola Company has trotted out some flashy commercials for their Sprite product in recent years under the tag line, “Freedom from Thirst.”  I must be on a commercial kick lately because I referenced another commercial in a recent post as well.  Here is one of the Sprite commercials:

Whenever I see an ad for Sprite however, I think about being curled up in the fetal position in my bed.  Why?  When I suffered from stomach ailments as a child my Mom would feed me Saltine Crackers followed with Sprite.  To this day the first thing I reach for when my stomach starts to bother me is Sprite.  Thirst is the farthest thing from my mind when encountering a Sprite advertisement.   For me the tag line for Sprite is “Freedom from Nausea.”

Or when I see an old number two wooden pencil, my brain seems to send a signal to my nose to remind me of that fresh cut cedar smell after running it through a pencil sharpener in elementary school.


By now you are astutely asking yourself, what in the world does all this have to do with admissions at SIPA?  Well, take a look at this picture:


What do you think of when you see mail bins?  Probably mail, right?  Well at SIPA, mail bins play huge role in the admissions process.  We use bins to group files together and send them around to Admission Committee members.  Anywhere from 30-50 files will be grouped together and will leave our office to be sent to an assigned reader.  During our busy season, we can have over 100 mail bins in our office and sometimes my office is so full of them that I have to jump over them to get to my chair.

Thus, the mail bin for me is now forever associated with reading SIPA admission files – I think about the long hours assembling and reading files during admission season, and always will.  So if your mind is conjuring up images of how the admissions process works at SIPA, feel free to insert a mail bin – your application may be resting in one right this moment.  With the number of files I read, I can guarantee you the image of the mail bin is forever burned into my cerebral cortex and will always be associated with reading the files of SIPA applicants.