What Kanye West Song Best Describes Your Concentration?

In the words of Kanye West, “you may be talented, but you’re not Kanye West.” And he’s not wrong. If you’re like me, you likely feel that Kanye West is the voice of our generation. Or, at least a voice of a generation. He has a big personality, and he refuses to be ignored. I’m pretty sure that he’s actually the reason why Taylor Swift became famous, but you didn’t hear that from me. Even if you hate the dude, you have to admit that he has talent, style, and a major influence in today’s pop culture. Kanye’s music permeates all aspects of our lives, and I’m going to argue that his music even represents our concentrations here at Brown.

Economics or Applied Mathematics (or, even better, both): Gold Digger

If you’re concentrating in econ or APMA, you’re probably on the road to making the big bucks. I’m not (necessarily) saying you’re a gold digger, but you ain’t messin’ with no humanities concentrations… Let’s face it: you put the gold in Goldman Sachs.

Computer Science: Stronger
If you’re a CS concentrator, I salute you. If you can survive these four years, you can survive anything. Personally, the idea of coding until 2 am on a nightly basis sounds deadly, but in the wise words of Mr. West, “that that don’t kill me can only make me stronger.”

TAPS: Flashing Lights

Let’s face it: you love being in the spotlight. You’re probably a little quirky and also hate this post because you want to argue that you would be better defined by a song from Dear Evan Hanson.

History: I Love Kanye

I’m not saying you’re stuck in the past, but you probably “miss the old Kanye” (but I mean, who doesn’t?). It’s tempting to look to the past with nostalgia, but, hey, we gotta make the best of what we have now and try to learn from past mistakes – which is why I stopped watching horror films at night with the lights off (so many regrets).

Gender and Sexuality Studies: Power

Any feminist would agree that “no one man should have all that power,” and if you’re a Gender and Sexuality Studies concentrator, you’re definitely an advocate for women’s rights. In this song, Kanye West feels like a powerful man. I’d like to see my #GirlPower advocates knock him down a few pegs.

BEO: School Spirit
If you’re a BEO concentrator, you probably like to have fun. You never miss a Whiskey Wednesday, you dabble in darties, and you might even go to more than one football game a year (that is, if you’re not on the team). Regardless, you definitely embody the type of school spirit that Kanye references in this anthem.

English: Bound 2

As an English concentrator myself, I chose this song not only because the lyrics are pure poetry (and because Kim looks like an absolute goddess in the music video), but because we English majors are definitely “bound to fall in love.” Whether you’re googly-eyed over your Love Stories professor, or simply inspired by the many(!) books you’ve read about love, you’re undoubtedly a hopeless romantic. Maybe one day, if you’re as lucky as Kimye, you’ll find your perfect match.

Undecided: All Falls Down

If you haven’t decided on your concentration, this song says it all. The woman that Kanye describes in this song “has no idea what she’s doin’ in college.” The concentration she thought she wanted to focus on apparently “makes no money,” so she really can’t decide what to study. But if you’re still undecided, don’t fret! It might take some time, but you’ll eventually figure it out. And if you don’t, you could always stay at Brown and maintain all those huge tents the administration loves to put on the quads so much.

Yan’s Cuisine

As we entered, the first thing we noticed about Yan’s Cuisine was the wonderfully familiar smell that wafted through our noses. We were instantly comforted by the aroma that almost all Chinese restaurants share – the hot and sticky scent of garlic, ginger, and sesame oil was reminiscent of family dinners at large, round tables with countless steaming-hot dishes scattered upon a Lazy Susan turntable. While the atmosphere at Yan’s is definitely more modern (they even have their own personalized plates!), due to its college-town setting and young clientele, the environment still gave me a sense of nostalgia, and I knew immediately that we were in for a treat.

My friends and I made the decision to go to Yan’s the day before as part of our quest to add some variety to our diets – and we really needed variety, since we’d been surviving on Andrews poké bowls and Ratty entreés for far too long. While we had originally intended to try their hot pot, we eventually decided to go for their regular menu, promising ourselves that we would return sometime to try the hot pot. (If you’re itching to try it out, it’s located on the restaurant’s upstairs floor and has its own separate menu.)

Hearing glowing accounts of Yan’s Americanized dishes left us more than a little cautious, but we soon learned that their menu is vast and can suit almost any taste. If you usually go for General Tso’s chicken or crab rangoons, I am in no way qualified to judge your decisions, but I encourage you to branch out a bit and try something else, because there are so many enticing dishes on the menu. A special shoutout goes to the China Tongue section of the menu, which features more authentic Chinese dishes for experienced diners and adventurous novices alike.

Chinese style dry green beans ($9.95) and eggplant in garlic sauce ($10.95)

The hardest part of the experience was choosing what to order – but, honestly, when you put four indecisive people at a table with a menu as extensive as Yan’s, what can you expect? After much deliberation, we opted for several classics: scallion pancakes, eggplant in garlic sauce, double cooked pork, Chinese style dry string beans, and (of course) a large bowl of white rice to share.

Scallion Pancake ($5.25)

While these were all delicious and satisfying, a clear favorite (the eggplant) emerged among us. We were all especially fond of its thick, sweet sauce, which had just a hint of spice, and noted how tasty it was over white rice. The Chinese style dry string beans were also a hit. While this is usually cooked with shredded pork, beef, or chicken, we chose to go meatless, and the dish was wonderfully flavorful even without the meat. These dishes were all served in sizable portions, and we left feeling content – and so very full.

Double-cooked pork ($11.25)

If you go to Yan’s, or any Chinese restaurant really, I recommend that you go with friends or family. In my opinion, while eating Chinese food from a takeout box in your own dorm room is nothing to be ashamed of (we all need some alone time, right?), eating Chinese food with others is so much better. After all, dim sum, hot pot, and Chinese set dinners are fundamentally group activities, and why should your weekend dinner at Yan’s be any different?

Debating with your friends about the differences in Chinese restaurant rice containers on the East and West Coasts over bites of scallion pancake is an experience not to be missed out on (side note: clearly the red plastic rice container is superior). Thanks for a great dinner, Yan’s – we’ll be sure to come back soon!


5 Types of Freshmen

In life, there are usually two types of people (if you ask me). However, when it comes to freshmen, I’m going to make a case that there are five types I’d like to highlight.

You may not be one of these people, but you’ve definitely met one of them. Here’s a rough guide to these freshmen archetypes (with added quotes, when possible).

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What Your Dirty Dishes (Would) Think of You

Day one:

“Wow, that was a great meal, wasn’t it?” The bowl rejoices, “We did an incredible job holding food for the human.”

The cutlery [telekinetically, I guess] hum their agreement.

“She sorta scratched me with the fork . . .” The non-stick pan mutters, gloomy as ever. The non-stick pan is useful, but also kinda too ornery for everyone else’s taste.

“Hey, I’m just an extension of the human’s righteous arm, it’s not my fault.”

Per usual, the non-stick pan doesn’t stick around very long after the meal is over. Once the human carries it away to The Cleaning Place, everyone agrees that it’s not the fork’s fault the non-stick pan is a little scratched.

Day two:

The coffee mug is getting restless, “I wonder what the human’s up to right now. Usually she needs me in the mornings? Is she OK?”

“Don’t worry about her,” Bowl says reassuringly. Bowl has known human for two years, “I’m sure she just went with the travel thermos this morning. She’s a busy girl.”

Day three:

The dishes begin to feel uncomfortable in their dish-skin. Tempers wear thin as sticky residue develops on each and every one of them. Every sighting of the human is both a cause for hope and an opening for disappointment.

Bowl has known the human longer than the rest and knows her habits. The bowl knows better than to expect relief quickly. If anything, it’s best to keep your hopes low.

“What is she even doing right now??” Fork rages, once-silver twines straining under a coating of long-dried meat sauce. “It’s fine if she ignores us when she’s sleeping, but she’s just staring at her typing device!”

“And not even typing!” Spoon chimes in.

“It’s Buzzfeed!” Water bottle reports from beside Human. Water bottle is her constant companion. The other dishes envy the water bottle and the travel mug. They’ve never seen the outside world, only the confines of Human’s bedrooms and various Cleaning Places. The newest dishes, the cutlery, have only seen this room. They hunger for a change of pace – or at least to be washed.

“Not Buzzfeed again!” The dishes groan in unison, save the Bowl, who knows Human all too well.

Bowl sighs, addressing its compatriots calmly, “It is best not to expect mercy from Human. She knows not what she does.”


The Search (for Parties)

The speculations begin to gain traction on Thursday. “Will there be a good party going on tomorrow?”. If Freshmen combined all their desire to party into organizing parties, there would be no stopping them. However, it is their Freshman condition that makes this hypothetical scenario impossible.

On Friday, social-thirsty Freshmen roam the halls and dark streets seeking stroboscopic lights and deafening beats. The search seems to be the lengthiest part of the night. What could make the actual discovery all the much better doesn’t, as it is usually accompanied by an awful sense of timing.

Countless times, three actually, my friends and I have made the strenuous trek to Perkins searching for a party that did not exist. Or we half-sprinted to Keeney, only to be outrun by DPS. Or, most unfortunately, EMS.

Like forensics analysts, we seem to only find the aftermath of a night (or, more likely, two hours) of booze and loud music. Red solo cups litter the ground and laughter echoes not so shyly into the night, but we never seem to find their birthplace.

“Oh, well. We should probably try again next weekend” becomes the unanimous motto until we finally come across a couple of giggly girls with still active solo cups and follow their trail. Em-Wool’s basement.

As soon as we get in, our senses are flooded by the sounds of hip hop and screamed reactions to beer pong.

“Luana” someone says. The two hours of aimless roaming are suddenly worth it. Someone is pronouncing my name correctly! (Small daily victories of an international student.)

“Bonjour!” continues a fellow Freshman from my French class. “Bonjour!” I answer, laughing at the absurdity of it all and feeling like a modern American parody of Beauty and the Beast. For a moment, I could swear I saw villagers waving their handkerchiefs at me.

“I’ll go get something and will be right back” my classmate concludes drunkenly. Well, I will go too, but probably won’t be right back.

After a night of failed attempts (such as coordinating with the shuttle routes, not to mention all our party woes) but uncountable laughs, my friends and I drag our feet back to our dorms.

3, 4, 5? How many classes should you take?

Four. The answer is almost always gonna be four.
Buuut in case you need to be convinced (and in case you might be an exception to the ever-sacred Rule of Four), here’s a breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of each choice:
The basics:
-you need to take (and pass) 30 classes to graduate, which means that you can’t take 3 classes every semester
-almost everyone takes 4 classes
-you are a human being and require sleep
           +and you like going out on weekends
Three classes:
-honestly so tempting, especially if the semester before was hard for you.
-If you’re on track to fulfill all of your concentration’s requirements, honestly why not? This can actually work to your advantage.
Say you have 3 very demanding classes on your plate. And you know that a 4th would only leave you playing a never-ending game of catch-up with one class or the other as you struggle to balance your workload, your activities, your friends, and your inability to stop browsing memes (and/or Facebook) instead of doing the work you should be doing. No one’s gonna blame you for taking 3!
-more free time! Unshackle yourself from the demands of four classes!
-if you’re a working student, especially if you’re working a lot, you might not have time to take a 4th class. And that’s totally OK. I found myself taking 3 classes for the first time this semester because, honestly, working 14 hours a week and taking upperclassmen-level courses was too much for me this semester.
-there’s some stigma attached to taking 3 classes, but I feel like most of it comes from that ever-present anxiety that if you’re taking 3 you’re somehow “lazy” or “not doing enough” – and I get it. Odds are, if you go to this school you’re used to having to juggle a lot of work and you might berate yourself for not having the same number of classes as the majority of students. But all classes aren’t created equal, friend. And sometimes you just gotta take 3 – no shame in it.
-let’s say you take 3 classes and end up having way more free time than you thought you would. This can be good, but if you’re not filling this time with activities or working a job or something, then you might just be the odd-one-out who has nothing to do while your friends are all bogged down by their homework
-deciding to take 3 courses is an exercise in strategy: you really need to weigh the pros and cons when you’re making this choice, because what if you have harder courses next semester and regret not taking 4 this semester so you could have taken 3 the next one?? Decisions, decisions.
Five classes:
-I guess if you’re behind on fulfilling your requirements you would do this?
-Or maybe you’re just taking an extra course (and it’s SNC) because it doesn’t fall into your requirements, but you’re interested in it. In that case, go you! I’m proud of you for taking advantage of the open curriculum.
-Why? You’re flying too close to the sun, Icarus.
-Are you taking this SNC, because you should be.
-You’re really busy. Really, really busy. If you’re taking the 5th class SNC (don’t do it for me, do it for yourself), then that helps, but you still need to pass the 5th class, so you have to do work for it.
-Idk how often you see your friends. Maybe y’all just hang out in the libraries – which is perfectly fine and group studying is lit, I’m just saying it might be nice not to live in the Sci-Li

You deserve better than this.

Four classes:
-on average, people take 4 classes. Although, again, not all classes are created equal and the workload varies, taking 4 classes generally means you have time to hang out with people
-Sleeeeeep: my unproblematic fave
-four classes is obviously already a lot of work, but generally it’s manageable if you manage your time. If 4 is too overwhelming and you can afford to do it, take 3.
-??? Just take four.