Fifty years after the damning of psychoactive substances as Schedule 1, sparks of the psychedelic community have begun to ignite into flames in an ambitious pursuit to recuperate years lost to darkness. What began with the incredible findings of a few brave researchers has spawned a global reawakening. While unimaginable ten years ago, we now find ourselves coming of age in the midst of a psychedelic renaissance.
As a college student, this can be a confusing and mysterious space to navigate. If you are currently a student you may find yourself asking, “What can I study to enter this field? What opportunities exist? Who can I talk to?” This article will guide you through some of the methods successfully employed by college students like yourself. They are paving the path leading to the fascinating world of psychedelics.
Expand Your Network
Arguably, the single most important thing you can do as a college student is to begin building your mycelium network (aka, connections with other people engaged in the renaissance). While some organizations recruit through online applications, the most effective way to become involved in new opportunities is by integrating into the right networks. A great way to begin is by joining the Intercollegiate Psychedelic Network (IPN). This is a society of college students around the globe who have come together to develop leaders in the psychedelic world. This organization provides an environment to foster collaboration between like-minded students who are progressing in all realms of the psychedelic space. Crucially, it offers a way for students to work together towards their goals. IPN promotes events, chats, conferences, work opportunities, and friendships.
Embrace Campus Organizations
While IPN is incredible for building worldwide connections, on-campus organizations really bring it home. The resurgence of psychedelics worldwide has sparked a new wave of psychedelic clubs. Some of you may be lucky enough to have one already established on your campus. If this is the case, then join! But if the renaissance has not yet blessed your school, then it’s time to create your own. Organizations such as IPN, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), and Psychedelic Club can help you out with this.
Another great way to connect is through summits and conferences—all just a Google search away. As a student, you may be low on funds. But worry not, for where there’s a will, there’s a way:
- Student prices can be lifesavers, and even if the conference’s website doesn’t advertise them, flicking off a quick email enquiring about student prices can work wonders.
- Many universities help fund students to attend conferences. It’s worth reaching out to your school to see if you meet the criteria.
- Also, why not volunteer at local psychedelic conferences? If you’re lucky enough to live in an area hosting one, volunteering is an excellent opportunity to get involved!
Once you’re in, the professionals sharing their work and research are usually more than happy to chat after the talk. Here’s a pro tip: research a few speakers that spike your curiosity beforehand. Write them an email introducing yourself and explaining your interest in their work.
Love Psychedelic Startups
Unfortunately, you’ve missed out on the Summer of Love by 50 years. But on the bright side, you’re just in time to summer in the psychedelic startup boom. While it won’t quite be three months of love, sex, and drugs, interning at a cutting-edge company on the verge of psychedelic greatness is still a great alternative.
Pick Your Professors’ Brains
College campuses are full of brilliant intellectuals—and you might be surprised by how many have dabbled in extended realms of consciousness. It’s worth searching your school’s relevant departments or even nearby universities for professors who have a history in psychedelic or drug policy research. If this comes to no avail, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has even gone the extra mile to compile a list of academic institutions with programs in psychedelic studies that are definitely worth checking out.
Sparking spontaneous conversations is a uniquely magical part of the college experience. Unfortunately, psychedelics are tainted with a stigma that all too often dissuades these conversations from materializing. But you’ll be surprised how rewarding abandoning the status quo can be. Initiating conversations about psychedelics—be they about experiences, articles, opportunities, or even just your interest in them—can open the door to incredible discussions. Just think, when else are you going to be part of such an open-minded and curious community?
As a college student you are perfectly positioned to join the generation that galvanizes the psychedelic movement. You have the potential to not only partake in the opportunities covered in this article, but to also create them. So, what are you waiting for?
RS Contributor Network Author: Serena Lim-Strutt
Serena is currently studying Neuroscience and Philosophy at Duke University. As a native New Zealander, it’s no surprise she loves adventures, exploring, and everything nature. Since moving to the US, her avid interest in the psychedelic world led to her join the Intercollegiate Psychedelic Network and work with MAPS on developing their MDMA training program.