Sunday, July 21, 2013

Beautiful Brown!

Today we left for Brown! Before that, we went to breakfast at a local café. It was the first sit down breakfast we had had since arriving. On the way to breakfast, it started raining for the first time since we’ve been here. It was really cool for it to be hot and rain at the same time; I had never experienced that before!
Michelle enjoying the rain
After breakfast, we drove to Brown and checked in! We hauled our luggage around for a while, trying to figure out where to go, and ended up walking around aimlessly for a while. We eventually decided to shove our bags back into the car because our dorm was too far away. Luckily, we all got placed in the same dorm because we are a part of the Leadership Institute.

Once we got to our dorms, I had to drag my bags up three flights of stairs, because I am staying on the top floor. It was painful to carry them all up at once; I should have taken two trips! Luckily, I made it to my room before my arms gave out. When I got there, my roommate Kelli had not yet arrived, so I chose my side of the room and started unpacking. I left my roommate a note that said, “Hey! I’m going out to grab lunch. See you soon!” I hope she saw it!
Our door!
When we were all unpacked, we went down to a local market to pick up some snacks and detergent, although we didn’t actually end up buying any detergent. Then, we headed out for lunch. We first walked in the wrong direction for a few blocks, but then asked a Brown student, and walked down to a dining hall. However, once we reached the dining hall, it was closed! Instead, we went down a few blocks and bought some food. I feel like with all this walking that I’m doing, I’m really going to be getting some good exercise.
My bed
My desk

After lunch, we went to an orientation led by Dean Rose. There, we were reminded that Brown has an open curriculum, meaning no distribution requirements. She said that the school implements this system because, “when a student is motivated, they will choose classes from a variety of subjects.”

After she talked about the basics of Brown, Dean Rose ended her spiel and started to talk about the Summer@Brown program. 49 states (except Wyoming), and 70 countries participate in the program. The program has a high value on critical thinking; “we seek first to understand, then to critique.” I think this is a really good model to go off of. I feel like it is important to recognize others’ perspectives and ideas before you criticize them.

Then Dean Rose declared, “you are all thinking, ‘all these other people are smarter than I am.’” I laughed, because that was exactly what I was thinking. She said how wrong that statement was, and that everyone here is here for a reason. That made me feel a little better about myself.

Dean Rose then said that the program isn’t just about learning content, but learning how to manage time, be prepared everyday, and accept challenges and still have fun. Another important aspect of the program is to experience new ways of learning. I think this will play a part when we do our ropes course. “Your success is up to you,” she had said, and I cannot agree with this statement more. I want to develop more confidence while I am here, and it is up to me to take on that challenge.

Then another speaker came onstage and talked about the learning that takes place outside of the classroom. There are co-curricular activities consisting of faculty lunches and path to series, college success workshops, and conversations about college. The social activities include sports, art, and group activities. There are also trips that we can take and go off campus. The places we can visit are Boston, Newport, the beach, and the Wrentham outlets.

After the orientation, we got broken up into our RA groups. The Leadership Institute students were told that we had to attend a second meeting that would last until 10:00 PM. In this meeting, we learned more details about the leadership classes, and about the skills that we need to develop in order to be successful leaders. Then, we broke off into smaller groups organized by floor, and had community building discussions regarding bathroom etiquette, dorm life, and the curfew. I found this a bit repetitive, as this was the third time we had heard this information. I guess they just wanted to be thorough.

When we got back, I met my roommate! She is from Houston, Texas, says, “y’all,” and is a Republican. It’s interesting to meet people who have such different backgrounds, accents and beliefs, even if we don’t necessarily agree.

I’m both excited and nervous to begin the Women and Leadership course tomorrow. I want to do well in the course, even though we don’t receive a grade.
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