Pet Peeves of an International Student

Being an international student can be hard. You have the usual nonsense of long flights, leaving home, studying abroad, visas and other frustrating documents. But let’s be honest – you have been prepared for all this (somewhat). What you haven’t been prepared for, however, are the smaller (but nonetheless important) things: American lingo, no metric system, weird spellings. And believe me, these can all be a lot harder to handle.

This post catalogues some of my experiences as an international student that you might (or might not) relate to. Either way, I hope you’ll be left amused.

1. (Not so) fun CS projects.

My state of mind, courtesy of CS15.

Before coming to Brown, I though taking a CS course might be fun. I was wrong. CS15 did not involve fun. It involved struggles. It involved long TA lines. It involved relocating from my dorm to the CIT. One particular assignment, namely Litebrite, involved a fair amount of frustration. I remember how for the longest time, my code for this project simply refused to compile. I spent ages – hours, days – (it felt like years) – trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Frustration levels peaked when I realised my ‘error’ was spelling “colour” with a “u”, when it had been spelt without a ‘u’ in the support code.

Side note: CS15 was dropped soon after. (On the bright side, I did earn practically 10 hours of my time back. Per day.)

Worries of the past.

2. Awkward Conversations Ft. American Lingo:

i) Scenes at Best-Buy:

Me: “Hi, I’m looking for a torch.”

Salesman:“A what?”

Me: “A torch.”


Salesman: “Sorry?”

*exchange continues for a good 30 seconds*

Salesman: “Ohhh, you mean a flashlight…”

What Best-Buy salesman thinks I want vs. what I actually want.

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Dining Halls, an Official Ranking (and Not At All a Completely Biased List I Made Up)


Weekdays: Ratty or V-dub (because you don’t have much of an option)

Andrews doesn’t open until lunch, and the Blue Room will drain all of your points, so your best bet for weekday breakfast is either the Ratty or the V-dub.

Both have omelets made-to-order, cereal, fruit, and all the other breakfast essentials. But even though the waffle maker at the V-dub is way underrated, who really has the time to walk all the way to North campus before morning classes? Plus, for some reason, the Ratty’s coffee is much superior to the V-dub’s.


Weekends: ANDREWS! (or Blue Room)

Nothing beats Andrews Commons brunch so please don’t try to fight me on this. The granola bowls make you feel like a beacon of health, even though we both know you poisoned your body the night before–and the breakfast burritos are so worth the line. You can put TATER TOTS in your breakfast burritos. What more could a hungover college student ask for?

But if you’re not feelin’ the walk over to Pembroke or don’t want to wait until 11 for breakfast at Andrews to open, Blue Room muffins are always a good call–plus the weekend is the only time you can use meal credits there, so you might as well take advantage. Blue Room also has way better coffee than Andrews.


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Still Spooky, a Halloween Playlist for a Post-Halloween World

Halloween is over now, but the Halloween spirit lives on. Like many of you out there, my spirits dip during the interlude between October (month of Halloween) and December (month of Christmas) – November is a trash month and everyone knows it. Thanksgiving, as great as it is, simply doesn’t carry the same cultural clout as Halloween and Christmas.

There are few Thanksgiving songs, and none of them are noteworthy enough that you could think of one without having to Google “thanksgiving songs”. There aren’t really Thanksgiving decorations, either (unless you’re a Thanksgiving fanatic and/or a middle-aged suburban parent). Thanksgiving doesn’t have the power to reinvigorate me during the long month of November, fraught with midterms and inconsistent weather as it is.

But Halloween can live on until Thanksgiving to make up for that. In my book, the spirit of Halloween persists until Thanksgiving, and then everything after Thanksgiving is Christmas.

In order to keep the Halloween vibe alive for this next month, I’ve made a playlist of songs which (at least to me) embody Halloween’s spirit. Though many are Halloween themed, not all of them are. Many of the songs are just songs with deep voices, spooky noises, and thrilling guitars. Enjoy, and stay spooky.


A Reflection on Family Weekend

College is a bubble, and it is easy to forget how strange this environment really is. That is, until you plunge back into the regular world, either because you’ve returned home for break or you’ve passed through the Van Wickle Gates as a college graduate. Think about how strange it is to be constantly surrounded by people within a few years of your age – from when you go to class, to when you eat your meals, to when you go back to your dorm to sleep.

One weekend each year, however, you are sure to see a middle-aged couple perusing wares at the Brown Bookstore, or a middle-school aged child strolling through the Main Green. Welcome to Family Weekend.

Family Weekend is an annual tradition here at Brown, giving families the chance to experience the best of what Brown has to offer for three eventful days. There could be no better time for this event than mid-October, when the leaves are starting to change color and fall to the ground, making Brown an exact rendering of the picturesque New England campus we’ve all come to love.

The joy of parents, siblings, grandparents, and students reuniting is palpable. Some family members show their affection through bear hugs and embraces, while others show their love by bringing their students countless items to store in their dorm rooms for any possible situation that might arise. Seriously though, the number of suitcases and storage boxes being unloaded from cars parked behind my dorm building was staggering. This, coupled with family members curiously wandering through the dorm hallways and exploring the lounges or common areas, was more than a little reminiscent of move-in day and orientation week.

Furthermore, the amount of Brown apparel present on campus during this time increases exponentially. Parents proudly don their Brown University baseball caps or jackets, showing us that school spirit is not as nonexistent as we are led to believe based on a typical weekend on campus. Family Weekend, remember, is no typical weekend. Continue Reading

Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

CW: rape mention

The Hulu original The Handmaid’s Tale is gory. It will continuously and mercilessly drag you away from your comfort zone and force you to watch the most basic human rights be violated. It’s undeniably a great show – but it does require a stable stomach, as some of the scenes are very hard on the eyes and on the mind. Even as a fan of Black Mirror, I still managed to be terrified of this particular breed of dystopia. This show is basically a Victorian spin-off of Black Mirror.

A quick breakdown:

In the fictional Gilead, an ultra conservative theocratic and totalitarian version of the US, the patriarchy reigns supreme. Offred, formerly known as June, is separated from her husband and daughter, and forcefully assimilated into the new system. The rare blessing of fertility becomes her biggest curse, as she is trained to carry the child of one of the republic’s commanders.

Every month, Offred endures a ritual euphemistically named the Ceremony, in which she is forced to have intercourse with the Commander Waterford while being held by his wife. The show follows her life in this new society, while interweaving it with moments from her old life.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a painful reflection on how flimsy our so-called inalienable rights are and how we need fight everyday to keep them.



Some character highlights:

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Here’s What You Should be for Halloween

Fellow Brunonians, the time has come for everyone’s favorite weekend of the semester: Halloweekend. And that means it’s time to start thinking about Halloween costumes. Well, actually, the time came about a week ago–so you’re starting to run out of time. But fear not, we’re here to help with costume inspo for every type of Halloween partygoer.

If you’re feeling lazy:

If you’re not about to blow money on something you’re only going to wear once and don’t want to spend more than five minutes getting ready, we can help you make due with what you already have in your closet. Throw on a pair of jeans and a flannel and you’re an instant lumberjack! Wear some dark reds and black (and maybe a touch of red lipstick?) and you’re a lazygirl vampire. And since you’re a Brown student, you probably already have everything you need for a hippie costume! Ripped or flared jeans, tie-dye, florals, and Birkenstocks will do the trick.

If you’re what the kids call ~extra~:

You’re not about to go unnoticed this halloweekend, that’s for sure… You either want to show a little (or a lot) of skin in an over-the-top cop or firefighter costume–or shine bright in a glitzy angel or devil costume. Or you can just take a page out of the Mean Girls handbook by wearing lingerie with animal ears–I won’t judge.

If you roll with a squad:

You’ll wear a group costume or no costume at all, so you better make sure to get a bomb costume for you and your whole squad. For a super easy Hogwarts costume, you and your friends can wear pleated skirts/black pants, sweaters, button-down shirts, and ties. If you think Harry Potter costumes are a bit played out, why not go as your favorite Pokémon characters or as the Scooby Doo gang?

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