New year, new classes, new you – and, perhaps just as important as these, new dorm!
As the leaves change and the weather cools, so too do our dorms, our dens of security and school time homes, reflect the immense changes underway at the beginning of each year. From Keeney to Minden to New Dorm, each year has been undeniably shaped by where I’ve lived and what’s in my immediate proximity.
Keeney, for example? Seems horrifically far from everything that isn’t the Main Green or Wriston Quad. Pretty recently renovated when I came in as a Freshman though, and Arnold Lounge has a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream machine (this is both a blessing and a curse, I assure you).
It takes a few weeks to get the hang of things in your new building, to figure out its pros and cons and start to really feel at home. Personally, I still find myself zoning out and walking on autopilot towards last year’s dorm before I realize what I’m doing and turn in the right direction.
This year, C Pax is going through a readjustment period just like the rest of us. Earlier this week, true leader of the people and President of Brown University Christina Paxson listed her “Tribeca crash pad for $1.7M,” reports Luxury Listings NYC.
I’m sure she’ll miss her old digs dearly, just like I miss that mysterious syrup smell that comes out of Barus and Holley at random intervals and coats the air around Minden (no, seriously – what is that smell, where does it come from, what sort of amazing science is happening in B&H and how can I be a part of this syrup-smelling science??).
Surely, however, President Paxson must have some things she won’t miss from her old apartment. I mean, look at that bathroom for one thing! Sleek, straight lines; modern, functioning fixtures; and not a lick of dust or grime? Her true Brunonian spirit must have recoiled at these features, but bravely she endured.
This is Brown. We bathe in dim lighting, small showers, and/or in close proximity to some distinctly colored muck. It is an unspoken requirement in a school with relatively few requirements to speak of, and I am sure it must have been one of President Paxson’s primary motivations for leaving this apartment behind.
I can’t blame her. This year, with my clean, spacious New Dorm bathrooms, I find myself longing for Minden, and not simply because of that syrup smell. I miss my private bathroom. It was private, it was dinky, and most of all, it exposed me to a variety of diverse experiences, which is truly the Brown way.
Added bonus: as a fan of Stranger Things, I truly valued the week-long stretch during which the removal of a water-drenched tile allowed my roommates and I to peer into the Upside Down every time we reached up for our shampoo.
So long, Minden. And so long to President Paxson’s Tribeca apartment. May both of them provide their next residents with equal amounts of happiness.
The thing about Spring Weekend is that – unless you’re remarkably savvy when it comes to music – we often don’t really know who most of the performers actually are. The lineup is announced and, almost invariably, the word, “Who?” tumbles out of our mouths as we rack our brains for any store of knowledge about the artists in question. Are they any good? Are they Friday (rap/pop/hype) or are they Saturday (rock/indie/mellow) performers?
Let’s simplify that process a bit:
Empress Of makes music you can dance to – imagine pulsing multicolored lights on a busy dance floor, and you pretty much get what her music feels like. Her vocals are a bit more complex than that, lending an almost eerie, but definitely ethereal sense to her music.
At first listen, Cherry Glazerr reminds me of bands like Cage the Elephant and Cold War Kids – but with kickass female vocalists, woot! If you’re really into alternative rock and its emphasis on impressive guitar riffs and drums you can headbang to, or if you’re into soft vocals and trippy music (what can I say, they’re a diverse group), I would recommend making sure you see Cherry Glazerr.
I’m pretty sure everyone has heard “You Know You Like It” at a party. Whether the party is actually hype or not, AlunaGeorge definitely lifts baseline Good Vibe levels by several degrees. With sensual vocals and beats that make you wanna get up and sway (or mosh, you do you) along with the music, AlunaGeorge offers a guaranteed boost to the General Hypeness of Spring Weekend.
Badu is one of the most widely heralded queens of neo-soul. Her sultry voice and eclectic style have inspired a generation of budding afrofuturists. Badu’s music is marked by its combination of soft-spoken, ringing vocals and a pleasing confluence of R&B and Funk. Essentially, it’s melodious music which compels one (or at least compels me) to bob their head along to the beat.
Princess Nokia is an alternative rapper and singer whose music is very interested in exploring her identity as a Black Nuyorican (Puerto Rican from New York). Her smooth singing voice contrasts her style of rap, which is quick and rough. Though she’s certainly a versatile performer, I’m banking on her bringing her rap to Brown.
Oh, and her music videos are lit.
Young Thug’s rap has a lot of elements of trap in it, which I’m thankful for because it’s really conducive to energetic dancing, especially for an event like Spring Weekend. He’s known for having a very interesting voice, which I would describe as occasionally raspy and often warbly. Aside from his musical talents, Young Thug is a hilarious person. Check out his Wycleaf Jean video and see what I mean – it’s literally a metatextual work of art.
If you’re anything like me that means you, 1) still haven’t filed your concentration and 2) got this email from Advising and it scared the shit out of you.
I mean, who’s had the time to file? Midterm season has been going on for what feels like three years! And it doesn’t help that the cold weather drains our collective will to do . . . pretty much anything. Besides, we all still have a regular homework load to deal with, along with our respective extracurriculars . . .
For the past few weeks, I’ve essentially been searching for reasons not to file my concentration – but I know I shouldn’t put it off any longer. Logically, I know that it won’t take that much time out of my schedule – it’s only a few essays, right? A few essays about my area of study, to boot. I could go on about my major forever, so this should be a piece of cake. No big deal.
It is hard, though. It took me a while to figure out why, because I know you can change your concentration pretty easily if you’d like to, so it’s not even like the declaration is binding. It shouldn’t seem like such a milestone, but it also really is.
We’re almost at the halfway mark of our college experience, after all. Pretty much everything we do from this point on has to be oriented towards the future, towards internships and our future careers. The idea of mapping out the next two years of classes is effectively analogous to the idea of mapping out the next few years of my life – and then I’m left wondering about where I’ll be then, and where I’ll go from there. . .
Honestly, it’s a lot to take in.
I have a tendency to react to things like this by putting them off, not because I’m actually a procrastinator or anything (although who doesn’t have their moments, ya know), but because I get overwhelmed by the fear that I won’t do a good enough job, now or in the future, or even – absurdly- that my declaration would for some reason be denied.
But how unlikely would that be, right? All Brown wants from us is an indicator that we have a plan for the next two years and that we’re not just taking completely random combinations of classes. We’re not setting our futures in stone when we declare, we’re just making a tentative outline. That’s a pretty fair deal for a school that doesn’t make us fulfill general education requirements – and, what’s more, Spring Break approaches!
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to worry about filing my concentration when I’m trying to soak up some well-earned rest.
So now’s the time to file your declarations!
Some tips for those of you who are still holding out (me included):
- Try to work on your essays, course outlines, etc. in the environment that is most comfortable for you. For me, that’s when I’m around friends, but for others it might be a quiet nook they can have all to themselves to focus.
- This week is the last week you can meet with your concentration advisers in person to talk to them about declaring – unless you’re staying on campus during break and your advisers happen to be available (I wouldn’t bank on the latter, honestly)
- Again: remember that the course outline you make for the next two years isn’t binding. Like my concentration adviser told me: when you pick the courses, you do it with the understanding that many of those courses might not be available in the future and that they’re essentially placeholders, not binding agreements to take particular courses.
Go forth friends! Break is for sleeping and revelry, not school stuff!
In honor of the weekend, and in memory of all the hours spent watching TV last weekend, I’ve decided that the time is ripe to begin a new segment: Unsung Heroes of Representation.
You might ask: Oh golly, who are these Unsung Heroes? Well, hold onto your seats, because they are a blast. Unsung Heroes of Representation has been devised to draw attention to TV shows and other media that represent marginalized identities in positive, realistic ways. Personally, I’m very tired of watching programs that rely upon stereotypes to characterize the few (if any) female, PoC, and/or queer characters – and I’m sure many of you agree.
That being said, what better way to kick this off than with the show I recently (shoutout to the long weekend) got all of my friends to start watching: Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Valentine’s Day is my birthday. Some people think that’s sweet. This is especially true of older people, who derive great pleasure from making comments about how I am my parents’ Valentine, or some nonsense about how that means my boyfriend has fewer dates to remember (wow, so sorry one more date would’ve been such a tremendous burden) – but I think it’s pretty dumb.
Having your birthday coincide with a major holiday is inherently a little frustrating, after all.
As a kid (and also now, who am I kidding), I couldn’t help but feel put-out when Valentine’s arrived and everyone around me was more preoccupied with romance than my actual birthday. And ok, maybe that sounds a little self-centered, but I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with needing affirmation from the people around you during the yearly celebration of your existence. Not that I would ever want or expect people not to celebrate Valentine’s Day just because it’s my birthday, obviously; I just mean that, as far as birthdays go, mine is a pretty easy birthday for people to forget.
Over time, my birthday became more annoying than anything, something to endure and something for which I have learned not to raise my hopes.
It has also furnished my room with many stuffed animals (so. many. stuffed. animals.) over the course of the years. Chocolates, flowers, and stuffed animals were hugely dominant among my presents – to the point that I actually had to sit my dad down and tell him I had gotten too old for anymore of those furry little bastards.
Sorry, bros. Our time together is over.
Fuzzy animals aside, Valentine’s Day offered a yearly reminder that I was single. Obviously, that didn’t matter very much when I was younger, but as I got older I couldn’t help but feel glum that I didn’t have a partner with whom to celebrate the occasion. When you think about it, it’s practically impossible to escape Valentine’s Day. I mean, it’s a monstrosity of an institution.
This time of year, commercials are flooded with images of flowers, jewelry, etc. with accompanying voiceovers by posh British women (to make the rings seem more refined? Unclear, but I swear this is a trend). Your favorite TV shows all have a Valentine’s Day special, which either revolves around the struggles of being single or the emergence of tensions between your favorite TV couples. The latter plot is usually written for the sole purpose of letting them make-up at the end of the episode, when they realize the True Meaning of Valentine’s Day (hint: it’s consumerism).
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
I know many people love Valentine’s Day independently of Hallmark’s machinations, but let’s not deny the role of companies in sustaining this holiday. It’s not a coincidence that we all have a standardized list of Valentine’s gifts in our minds. And Valentine’s Day isn’t even a holiday reserved for adults! From pre-school onwards, it has infiltrated the hearts and minds of all. Who doesn’t remember handing out cards and candy to everyone in their class?
It’s not like it ended when we were little, either: even in college, we’re still doling out candy-grams and other treats like no one’s business. Not that I’m complaining about any of these things, because who doesn’t support eating a ton and displays of affection, but you have to admit that Valentine’s Day is largely geared towards getting people to buy, buy, buy.
Let’s not let capitalism ruin this for us, though. There are certainly ways to spend the holiday without emptying your wallet and, regardless, I think that a day devoted to being extra sweet to your partner is lovely. Yeah, I know that sounds gooey – but what can I say, my birthday has grown on me.
Certainly, Valentine’s Day can be obnoxious, and sometimes disheartening, but it can also be tremendously fun. Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat really good food, indulge yourself with extra desserts (so I really want an excuse to eat a pint of ice cream, sue me), and let your romantic side take the reins? Take it from me, a true child of Saint Valentine.
Do not be fooled: the fun is not reserved exclusively for couples. If Valentine’s Day is about recognizing the people you love, why not bestow your affections upon your friends and loved ones? After all, nothing about being single prohibits you from taking part, and the holiday has a lot to offer: themed parties, desserts on deserts on desserts, discounted candy the day after, and the perfect excuse to treat yo self.
So go out there and show Hallmark who really owns Valentine’s Day, Brunonia.
You heard Ms. Meagle.