Brown tours re-visited, sort of

So the original idea for this post was to go on a tour, as a current member of the Brown community, and blog about it. Easy. That is until I fucked it up… twice.


First Mistake: I never actually took a Brown tour when I applied. I was recruited for handball so I just told the coach my stats and sent him my mugshot and I was accepted overnight. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. For this article to actually work, I would have to compare my tour experiences from when was a I perspective student to my experience as a current student. To be honest, I completely forgot I never even toured in the first place, until I started on the tour and thought, “wow what an insightful yet unfamiliar experience.”  Then I remembered that when I visited campus with my dad we ended up skipping the tour to eat Nice Slice. Oh, how things haven’t changed.

Second Mistake: This is less of a mistake and more of a weird, humiliating public experience. I snuck my way onto the tour, unbeknownst to anyone that I was an enrolled student, and was en route to a hard hitting, enthralling, and emotionally charged blog post. As I stood there, scrambling notes on all I observed, someone bumped into me from behind and screamed, “Oh shit! You broke my fucking headphones.” The group of 30 prospective students, their helicopter parents, and the three lovely tour guides all turned and looked at me. Confused, I swung around and saw a 12 year old kid and his friends all staring in shock at a now ripped in half pair of Beats headphones.

Quick recap: everyone’s attention is now on me, the creepy and mediocre blogger taking notes, and there is a visibly angry and upset teen, his group of friends, and an allegedly broken pair of neon-green Beats.

The guides managed to start their tour, but the gaggle of friends still lingered. I could feel their angry, pre-pubsencent stares on the back of my neck. “Hey dude, you broke my headphones,” and “What the hell, you ruined my Beats” was yelled at me, but I just kept trying to pay attention and follow the tour.

I really didn’t think I did anything; I was standing pretty still when they ran into me. However, now everyone around me could clearly tell I was being yelled at, but refusing to accept blame for this I just kept looking around, pretending to be searching for the actual culprit. At one point I even leaned over to a random tiger Mom, and said, “Do you know what these kids are upset about?” She looked at me, confused and borderline disgusted and said, “Yeah, that kid thinks you bumped into him.”

So now the attention and blame was 100% on me. But I really don’t think I bumped into him. He bumped into me. I was reporting the news, not dancing around and bumping into little kids. But things were getting very uncomfortable and I was looking more and more like the villain (who didn’t belong on the tour) every second. I tried to reason, still hoping to avoid fighting five 12 years olds in front of 30 prospective students on the steps of Faunce. I tried to convince the kid he was completely at fault. Hey, he is young and thus likely confused about what happened. Maybe he just needs some reminding? Nope. He had none of that. He then dropped on me that they weren’t even his headphones but rather one of the girls in his friend group, who was standing 10 feet away and borderline crying over the state of her headphones.

So now I have an angry boy, a sad girl, and a bewildered tour group all staring at me. What do I do? I ask the kid what he wants from me; he looks at the girl, and they both shrug. Now they are really pulling on my heart strings. Why do I have to be so kind? When I asked how much a new pair would cost he said $35. This was a surprising number to me. Beats are easily over $100, but I didn’t have the time, patience or money to argue. I agreed. We exchanged numbers, and set a meeting time for the next day.

After the kid and his friends left I felt like I had somehow been tricked. But I was so uncomfortable from all of the unwanted attention and so cold from the fact that it was cold as shit. I “carried” on with the tour and I learned a lot. After $35 dollars, hypothermia, and public embarrassment, I can report a couple of key findings.

What I learned:

University Hall was the first building at Brown. Who cares?

The first graduating class had seven kids. I heard they were all football players

Parents whose kids are applying college are still NUTS. Moms asking tour leaders about their summer jobs in the first five minutes.

There are over 400 student groups. 400 student groups who will email you 100 times a week about free pizza. Mix it the fuck up student groups!

It is still cold as shit outside.

Sayles Hall has an organ. I had never been inside, but next time I’m looking to organ the night away I’ll know where to go.

Tour guides won’t let you get away with saying “major.” “I’m concentrating on not punching you in the face for saying major” — every tour guide

The baseball team used to play on Lincoln Field. They hit so many balls through the stained glass windows of Sayles that Brown built the athletic facilities. The last time the baseball team was relevant! BOOM.

All the facts about residential dorms. They forgot to mention that Emery/Woolley is a prison.

The only thing that actually affects your freshman roommate pairing is that you can’t have the same first name or come from the same zip code. Hey Brown, that sounds like a fool proof method (I love my roommate, but in general, stupid process).

figure it out

All in all, I didn’t learn as much as I could have. If I had been better prepared/didn’t have an incident with a pack of 12 years olds. Another day, another blog, another mistake. You live and learn. I will say that the Brown tour guides were great, super informative, and nice (and they definitley didn’t pay me $35 to say that).

Images via, via, and via.

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