Sunday, July 21, 2013

Approaching Brown: We've Reached Our Destination

Today was the day that I had been waiting for; it seemed like it took five years for us to finally check- in to Brown University. This has been a long journey and our summer at Brown has just begun.  I feel like I have already learned so much about myself and what I can improve upon.  This morning I woke up very early and I made sure that I gathered all my belongings before my cohort and I departed from Hotel Providence. I crawled around on the floors and checked all over my room like I was looking for a lost needle in a haystack.  I even urged Crystal to go back and double-check to see if she or I had left a few things lying around.  She eventually returned and stated that she didn’t find anything else and we were now able to proceed downstairs. I think that this was the first time that everyone arrived in the lobby before I did. I think they were anxious and wanted to go see what we’ve been working this hard for. We piled all of our luggage, carry-ons, and purses into the car. The car was so full that we barely had any room for us to place our feet. I had two large suitcases on both sides of me and I could not wait to get to Brown University.  However, we did not go directly to the campus which meant that I had to get out of the car to go get breakfast and climb back in over all of the suitcases. It was like I was a climber traveling up an infinite vine without ever progressing.

During breakfast the group discussed the first chapter in our summer at Brown packet and I have to tell you that I was really uninterested in hearing their feedback due to the fact that I already knew what their response would be. The article discussed the dominant majority discriminating against subordinates or the “others”, specifically based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic backgrounds, and religious beliefs. Most of the cohort believed that it was an article that criticized Caucasians and focused on reliving past events. However, they didn’t understand the article to its entirety, because it did not condemn Caucasians instead the author wanted to examine how these isms have affected the subordinates to this day. Ms. Neal then implied that I didn’t vocalize my opinions enough which made feel slighted, because I don’t understand why she would think that I would care if anyone agreed with my opinions. I like having a point of view that parallels from that of my cohort, because it makes our discussions more interesting. I am the type of student who respects all opinions and enjoys hearing a different prospective. I believe that it is possible for people to have views that differ from their friends, but still respect each other enough to respect their individual opinions. I pretty much tuned out for the rest of breakfast due to those comments and we later returned to the van and got back on the road.

After we arrived at Brown University we put our luggage underneath a tent that shielded our luggage from the sun. Then, I walked over to a few students wearing summer at Brown shirts and got a name tag. My cohort and I received our brown IDs and headed out to find where we would be residing for the time being. Soon after we received our keys and maps we noticed that we were all in the same hall!—Perkins Hall.
In line behind Crystal waiting to check-in
 I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, because now I knew for sure that I would recognize familiar faces on my floor. I felt like I had a slight advantage over the other incoming brownies, because I knew several students prior to moving in meanwhile they were in an entirely foreign location with people who they have never seen in their lives. I realized how truly lucky I am to be a part of the Ivy League Connection, because I have a hard time opening up to new people.  However, the small glimpse of solace that I felt went away when I remembered that I still had to meet my roommate. I opened the door and I saw that she had not arrived yet and became curious about her whereabouts.
Have you seen my roommate?!
 I asked Crystal’s RA if she knew where my roommate was and she informed me that she would be arriving a little later. I immediately speculated that my roommate had to be from far away. All of a sudden my apprehension faded away and my excitement settled back in. About one hour later my roommate arrived to Brown University. My roommate is from Beijing, China and her name is Man Lin, but she prefers to be called Mandy. I’m inferring that she Americanized her name so that I could have an easier time pronouncing her name. I was disappointed in her choice to take an alias since I believe that all cultures are beautiful and that people should try the hardest to accommodate their roommates’ differences. I know from personal experience how much of a daunting task it is to constantly have to correct people when they mispronounce your name.
 

After Mandy and I got acquainted I told her aunt where she could find all of the items Mandy shall need before she attends class on Monday. Her aunt was very sweet and appreciative of my help. After I struggled through dragging my bloated luggage up to my room on the second floor my cohort and I journeyed to a market to purchase toiletries before Ms. Neal left. It will be a long time before we see her again and we will be consumed with activities, community meetings, ice cream socials, and workshops that we won’t have any time to chat with her. After collecting our purchases we returned to Brown University and got most of our things unpacked. We all went off in different directions and had an hour to waste before we went to orientation.
Strange Piece of Artwork in the Courtyard
 I met my RA, Sarahday, during the down time I had before coming to orientation. She was bubbly, energetic, talkative, and short. She is a junior at Brown University and majors in Biology and minors in Asian- American studies. She even gave me a large fan to borrow and out in my room so now I have an accumulation of two fans.
I am living like a little princess compared to the lack of air conditioning that most of the girls on my floor have.  

At orientation which was in Salomon hall we were given rules that we had to abide by which will not be a hard task for me to do since I do not partake in any of the debauchery that they spoke of.
Location of the orientation: Salomon Hall 
 We also participated in an icebreaker activity where we had to create the sound of rain by using snapping, rubbing our hands, patting our thighs, and completing these motions in a series of different sequences. I actually had fun, but realized that I had yet to intertwine paths with someone new. I really felt like I needed to try to find new people to talk to so I can truly say that I got out of my comfort zone and experienced new things.

My RA invited all of the women on my floors to go to dinner and we played Two Truths and A Lie. In this icebreaker you tell two truths and a lie and your friends have to decipher which of the three things you mentioned were a lie. I was still a bit apprehensive about interacting with my the women who lived on my floor and did  not volunteer to play. After dinner the girls and I went to the ice cream social and I talked to Crystal and Julia. I decided to take a chance and go over to a girl standing by herself to see if she wanted to converse with me. At first I thought this was a bad idea and started to walk away until she began to speak to me. I met so many new friends and I am so happy that I decided to get out of my comfort zone. I met Natalia, Nadja, Spencer, and Caroline at the ice cream social. I had a blast and can’t wait until the next ice cream social next week. My new friends and I had so many things in common and kept each other laughing the entire time. I love being a part of Brown University’s community and I intend on signing up for more activities, so that I can completely get out of my shell. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world I can’t wait to see what occurs during class tomorrow. I am changing already for the better and I know for a fact that when I return to California I will be a new woman.

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