As the semester progresses at the speed of light, the senior class is beginning to make peace with that fateful day in May: Commencement. Until the class of 2014 leaves us, BlogDH wants to highlight all the interesting things they’ve been up to. To this end, we’re (re)starting the series Last Call, which features seniors reflecting on their experiences at Brown. Each featured senior will tag another senior for the next installment. Find this year’s other “Last Call” chain here.
People might know me as… Jeggings. Golf sweaters. Rockefeller Library resident. Laughter that has no respect for quiet spaces. History and Middle East Studies concentrator with an affinity for the following buzzwords: queer ontologies, digital nonfiction, discursive violence. Coffee.
In my time at Brown, I am most proud of… Making friends I’ll want to play with until I’m 88. Seriously, I can’t get enough of these kids—and that will bring me more warmth than any resumé bullet point can muster.
On a Friday night, you might find yourself… I’m definitely dancing. Most often in a crowded living room. I’m relentlessly trying to conjure my hometown Little Havana, Miami and all its hip swings and yelling and aggressive gesticulating. I’m a whirlwind of limbs. And it’s all a result of a magical, Isabel Allende-inspired upbringing. It’s my best form of prayer.
The best class/professor at Brown is… An impossible question. Best lecturer is Robert Self. Best seminar faciltator is Maud Mandel. Best humble radical is Amy Remensnyder. Best office hour holder and Twitter user is Shiva Balaghi. Best (anti-imperialist) writing mentor is Naoko Shibusawa. Is it obvious I love my department?
Three things you wish you knew freshman year…
1. There are various stages in life. Therefore, you don’t need to do everything at once i.e. it’s okay if you’re spending all your time learning a new language—in my case, Arabic. This will play out to your benefit (and cross-cultural dialogue as whole).
2. There is a spectrum of basic-ness. It’s not a binary. We try to cultivate a critical self-awareness, but many fail. Luckily, Facebook allows us to unfollow this demographic.
3. If you want to be a writer, then write. But writing for classes doesn’t check the box. Write for yourself. Write for a campus newspaper. Write for a literary journal. And befriend generous and incisive editors. They also make for interesting lovers.
Ratty vs. V-Dub?
Usually, it’s the Ratty for reasons I need not state. But let me make an appeal for the V-Dub—it’s an intimate and familial option best suited for groups of three or smaller. I also learned to eat alone and read in the V-Dub. If you need a person sitting next to you when you eat in public and you’re 18 or older, then you have a problem. You’re boring.
The best random thing you did in your time at Brown is… I got tattooed on Thayer with Doreen. I’m not saying what or where.
One thing you wish you had done… A couple of weeks ago, I infiltrated BOLT Prom and had the most fun. Hiking, camping, and getting lost in the wild with those kids could’ve been a blast.
After graduation, you plan to… Take my time. I’ve worked at the CareerLAB every year I’ve spent at Brown and learned that alumni or any other assortment of professionals are comfortable waiting for the right risk to come along. And please take risks: if you’re not, then you’re probably contributing to a harmful capitalist system (it privileges application processes that begin and end in the fall).
You studied abroad in Egypt. What was your favorite part of that experience?
My semester abroad wasn’t so much a collection of “favorite” moments, but it was my most productive and influential experience from the past four years. The bewildering disorientation is not something a party-starved student necessarily wants, but it’s a sobering experience most people need. Without the habitual dose of intellectual vertigo, I’m left hungry and without stories to tell.
What’s the hardest class you’ve taken at Brown? If you could do it over, would you still take it?
I cry for my stilted Arabic skills like once a month. I’ve taken it every semester and the more I study this language, the more I realize how much I don’t know. I can picture myself investing in Spanish or Italian—my parents’ tongues—but then I wouldn’t have been able to tap into some of the most pressing political upheavals of my generation.
You’ve been involved with a various camps publications, including Recess. In what ways has this involvement been rewarding for you?
Recess is digital nonfiction—one of those buzzwords I’m so attached to. This means taking excellent prose and framing it alongside equally impressive graphics, video, audio, and coding. This means meeting talented writers and putting them in dialogue with talented illustrators and web designers. The reward is inherent in the process: facilitating unorthodox and unexpected connections; promoting alternative narratives that can’t live anywhere else but at our live workshop site.
Sum up your history thesis in one sentence, lolmythesis style.
If people don’t start defining their terms, then feelings will be seriously hurt and history will repeat itself in the most hetero-normative way possible.
What’s the weirdest item you have in your apartment?
My housemate Shana: she’s furry, loud, and the best thing to hug late at night. Also, her diet solely consists of Trader Joe’s snacks.
One piece of advice for underclassmen?
Wear a dress every now and then.
Doreen’s question: Deleuze or Diplo?
Did you attend Spring Weekend 2014? Diplo is Deleuze. That wonderfully crazy set he gave us can also be titled Difference and Repetition. Dancing to “Express Yourself” with more than a thousand of my classmates was quite the metaphysical experience.
Who are you tagging next?
Elizabeth Carroll—my homegirl from the 305 and a subversive comedic mind.
Question for Elizabeth:
What has been your favorite campus controversy this year?