BlogTip #1: Don’t buy your textbooks before the first day of class.
Freshmen: by now, you’ve been at Brown for at least three whole days, and you probably feel like you already own the place. You’ve figured out how to navigate your way through the Ratty, made lifelong friends at various orientation events, and maybe even learned how to throw a ping pong ball into a red solo cup. Now there’s just one little thing left to do to become a real college freshman: actually go to class. On Wednesday at 9 a.m. (don’t ask why school starts on a Wednesday, or why 9 a.m. classes exist at all), fall semester classes begin.
Every other time you’ve attended a first day of school, you’ve most likely gotten your predetermined schedule and gone to the classes listed without thinking twice. But Brown likes making us think, so the first day of classes here is unlike any other. You can go to ten different classes based on whatever strikes your fancy, or grab the syllabus in a couple classes for your concentration and then dip out, or anything in between.
Whichever shopping strategy you go for, the first day of classes can be one of the most overwhelming days at Brown. Last year the day was a blur, not just because I shopped a class every hour, but also thanks to the Providence rain gods’ sick sense of humor. Even if they decide to give us a break this year, the first day is bound to be crazy. Here are a few tips to get through the mayhem:
- Plan out the classes you want to go to in advance. If you’ve spent all summer on Banner finding the coolest-sounding classes, great; if not, this is what your advisor and Meiklejohn are for. It’s tough to browse the course scheduler on your phone while looking up concentration requirements and checking out The Critical Review at the same time, so try to do all that before you’re rushing between classes. You don’t want to miss the first meeting of a class you know you have to take–you might miss something important or even jeopardize your spot. Continue Reading
As registration kicks into gear, many freshmen wonder, “Why is there a specific time for registration? Don’t I just sign up for whatever I want to take whenever I want to take it?”
Well… kind of. That’s the beauty of the New Curriculum, but there’s still some more structure to course selection than what meets the eye. Navigating Banner is similar to the art of surviving the Fantasy Football draft. We’re here to step in as your very own MeikleBlog; put on your lifejacket because BlogDH is here to help you stay afloat during the registration process. Here are some of the key nuggets of registration wisdom:
Know your capped courses. Plenty of awesome courses have caps (a.k.a. a limit to how many students can take the course). This becomes a problem when 100 students want to take Intro to Creative Nonfiction with Michael Stewart and there are only 17 seats in the class. Caps vary, and plenty of great courses are lectures without caps. A lot of the time, though, a course you may want to take will be capped; this is why you need to take a look at the courses that interest you and how many people students can be in each of those classes.
Make sure you get your pin. This is everything. You won’t be able to register without it, and you can definitely wave goodbye to a seat in a capped seat if you’re pin-less. You need this ahead of time—if your first-year advisor doesn’t give this to you before you leave his/her office, you’re going to have to beg for it before registration begins at 7 p.m. on September 3rd, and that’s probably the last thing you’re going to want to do.
Have a game plan. You can talk to your Meik about this, but here’s our advice: Make sure your capped courses in your cart first. You can always register for courses without caps after you ensure that you’ve gotten into your capped classes. You should register for five classes, even though you don’t intend to take five. (The courses you register for are likely to change during Shopping Period, but that’s a whole other shindig. Just know that you’re not absolutely bound to the courses you choose in this go-around.) Continue Reading
At this point, you’ve moved into your humble abode with your new roommate. You’ve experienced the awkward circles of eager freshmen that form at the Ice Cream Social. You might have even experienced your first college party. You’re thinking, “this is [insert expletive of choice] great!” While you’re experiencing all of these things for the first time, it’s easy to forget the reason why you came here: to learn. Luckily, we’re here to remind you.
Classes start this Wednesday, September 4. Fear not, however, for you won’t be entering the process blindly. At Brown we have a comprehensive academic advising system for freshmen called the Meiklejohn Peer Advising Program. Each of you has a Meiklejohn (pronounced like pickle but with an “m”) who is an older student that has gone through everything you’re about to experience. Your Meik is the ultimate source of knowledge for you and the most valuable resource for all things related to Brown. If don’t know something, your Meik can point you in the direction someone who does.
In addition to your Meiklejohn, you have an academic advisor who will help you decide what classes to take, as well as what steps you should be taking to accomplish your goals (or even help figure out what your goals actually are). Tomorrow morning you’ll meet both of your advisors for the first time. Here are a couple tips to keep in mind when you meet them:
- Open up to your advisors. Actually give them the chance to get to know you. As a freshman, it’s easy to want to seem like you know what you’re doing. The truth is that most of the time you’re lost. And that’s perfectly fine. The advising program is here to help you! Your Meik and faculty advisor can help you best when they truly know you, your academic and extracurricular interests, and your concerns. Continue Reading
So you’re moving in. Congrats. BlogDH prepares you to confront the gaping pit of uncertainty that is move-in day with these six basic questions you’ll have to ask yourself as you move in.
1. Who the fuck is this guy/girl?
And by “this guy/girl,” we of course mean your roommate. Look, you could be best friends. It happens. But if not, then not. Who cares? No need to envy the people who become all buddy-buddy with their roomie and forget to meet everyone else until October. 99 times out of 100, even if you and your roommate are polar opposites, the living situation will be at least, well, livable.
2. Where’s my lucky scarf?
Yeah, you probably forgot something at home. Guess what? Whether it’s your teddy bear or your computer charger or your running shoes or your glass dildo (wait what?), you can have it mailed to you. Or buy a new, better version at the Brown Bookstore or Providence Place. Doesn’t that sound nice.
3. Who’s this person saying they’re my RC? Are they going to be a hard-ass and ruin my fun?
If you’ve seen this year’s attempt at a fourth season of Arrested Development, you know that in the first episode we see Michael Cera’s character’s father move into his dorm room. Skeptics, take note: This is definitely what the first few hours (or days) of moving in feel like. When you get to your dorm room, the average over-protective parent/guardian will want to set it up for you as if they were decorating your nursery. They’ll actually be more of a roommate at that point than your real roommate. As long as you don’t let them come into the shower with you like the father and son above, the overdose of affection makes for a great feeling.
Relish the over-nurturing, because your family is about to go back home, and this should be the last time your mom makes your bed this year. That’s right: nobody who isn’t wearing a hairnet is going to make you lunch anymore (although the Brown dining staff are a bunch of sweeties). Have your family take you out to a meal on Thayer Street, and then take the traditional Hajj to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy some unnecessary dorm room swag. Then, as your loved ones are putting those finishing touches on your tchotchkes, arguing about the placement of your One Direction stereotypical Pink Floyd poster, you will realize it is time for them to get the f*** out.
Ah, orientation—that week before your freshman year when you can attend an array events all built around the copious opportunities to awkwardly introduce yourself to hundreds of people and hope a few become your best friends. But those events are not all created equal. Here’s BlogDH’s preview of the Orientation calendar’s greatest hits.
It might feel like you’ve already been welcomed by the entire Brown community, but the official welcome from President Christina Paxson is a must. The class of 2017 is only the second one to be treated to the Pax’s wisdom, so consider yourselves Paxsoneers. Get to the Main Green early to save seats in the shade for yourself, your parents, and maybe even your first-day-friends if you’re feeling the welcoming spirit. Cheers of “Pax on Pax on Pax!” are encouraged as the Prez steps up to the podium. Try to contain the excitement of being surrounded by your 1500 classmates for the first time and actually listen to the president’s words. Having just completed her own “freshman” year, she’s sure to give some valuable frosh advice. After the speech, don’t miss out on a photo-op behind the podium on the Faunce steps: it makes for a great (if slightly pretentious) first Brown mupload.
–Kate Storey-Fisher Continue Reading