Today, May 1st, marks the deadline when admitted students must decide whether or not they will matriculate at Brown. On this occasion, BlogDailyHerald has assembled a sampling of students and recent alumni who chose to take a “gap year,” or a year off in between high school and higher education. These Brunonians have offered their candid insights on why they opted to devise their own sixteen-month-long itinerary, rather than transitioning conventionally from high school to college. Whether Brown chooses to defer your acceptance or you are considering deferring your acceptance to Brown, this open panel can serve as a resource as you figure out what you will do over your gap year or if a gap year would be right for you.
How did you spend your gap year?: The short answer is that I spent 9 months living in Kazan, Russia taking intensive daily language courses. The long answer is that I went with a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship, which is a program fully funded by the U.S. Department of State. I was with 14 other American students in Kazan. I lived with a host family who spoke no English but had two amazing pugs.
Why did you take a gap year?: I knew that I at least wanted to entertain the idea of a gap year because it sounded like a unique experience and something that I might benefit from. I applied to NSLI-Y at the same time as I was applying to schools. I was accepted to the program and to college in the same week and I had to make my decisions (about school and whether or not I would take a gap year) pretty quickly. I was nervous about taking a full year off but when I weighed the pros and cons I quickly realized that there were actually no cons. The stretch from first grade through high school is 12 years, which is a really long time. For most people this stretch then turns into 16 years and maybe even more with graduate school. Taking a break from the same schedule of schooling every year was intriguing and seemed pretty refreshing.
Why would you recommend a gap year to incoming students: There is absolutely no question in my mind that taking a gap year was a great choice. A year between high school and college, regardless of what you do with it, is a really awesome time to reflect on a lot of things. As tacky as it sounds, I learned so much about myself on my gap year. When I came back from my year off, I felt like I was recharged. I was excited to get back into the classroom and meet new people.
With Deadline Day around the corner, here is BlogDH’s latest installment in shameless Brown promotion Brown-related posts for the dearly beloved Class of 2019. Last week, two BlogDH staff members sat down with an assortment of pre-frosh and asked them what questions they had about Brown. Here are our answers:
How has your perspective of Brown changed over the years?
Julia: I came to Brown thinking it was an incredible place because it had incredible academic opportunities. That’s definitely true, but I realized within my first semester that what makes Brown incredible are wildly passionate and creative students. I see Brown now as a community instead of an institution.
What is your least favorite part of Brown?
Kevin: Personally, my least favorite part of Brown is the fact that it can become so easy to get consumed by the present moment. As soon as you arrive on campus, there are so many amazing and exciting things occurring all around you that it can be hard to look past the parameters of the Main Green. Providence is a really interesting city; however, because there’s so much going on around campus, it can be hard to pull away from College Hill and make the trek downtown. The same applies to the clubs you join and the activities you get involved with; once you invest your time and energy, it can become really easy to be blind to all of the other exciting happenings around campus. In other words, it’s really easy to lose track of all of the incredible opportunities that Brown and Providence have to offer because there will inevitably be so much going on in your life as soon as you get on campus.
Armed at Meehan Auditorium with nothing but a dry erase board and a bunch of awesome stickers, BlogDH pestered a bunch of accepted students on what they thought was the best thing about Brown. Some of the answers were sincere and anticipated, while others were strange and exciting. Not everyone we spoke with had decided on which school to attend, and a couple of them thought blogging was dumb and refused to engage with us.
After many hours on the hockey rink, (i.e. 90 minutes), here are a few of our favorites. Check out the complete collection here!
There is only one more chance to see For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When The Rainbow is Enuf in the Downspace and I highly suggest you take it.
This emotional piece weaves monologues and movement into a depiction of the simultaneous hardship and empowerment of being a woman of color. The fourth wall is broken down throughout the play as the actresses stare directly at their audience. The show twists through stories with jolting endings, making this actor/audience connection all the more unsettling–and effective.
While the show issues a trigger warning for rape, domestic abuse, violence, mental health, and suicide, there are also light-hearted moments that breathe a sigh of relief into the piece without trivializing the more severe material. The poetry is lyrical and layered and it is worth it to see the show just for the brilliant script. But what infuses the text with gripping significance is the incredibly dedicated performances given by the seven actresses. Directed by Nikteha Salazar ’16, this show is brutally honest and complexly beautiful.
As morbid as it might be, there are plenty of ways to die at Brown. College is a dangerous place. Winter is a dangerous season. The new Campus Snapstory encourages students to do attention-grabbing things. The buildings are 200 years old. You never know what’s gonna happen, so you may as well be wary of the ways you might find your demise here on campus. Most are uncontrollable, but you may as well know, in case there’s any way to prepare for the danger that lies ahead.
1. Being smushed when the person in front of you on line for the Ratty neglects to hold the door open. Or being blown backwards, flying up, and getting smashed on the inside Ratty doors when those 1,000 mph winds are unleashed while trying to leave. (Basically, you’re screwed pre- and post-Cajun pasta.)
2. In something that looks like a scene from I Am Legend, you are climbing to the third floor in Health Services and the slanted spiral staircase, in slow motion, collapses beneath you.
3. Sledding down College Hill and making a grand entrance right into the below-freezing Providence River. We’re talking a deadly drowning/hypothermia combo.
4. On that note — being impaled by a six-foot dangling icicle.
5. A big disk (is that a light? a fan? a UFO?) that hangs from the Ratty ceiling falls and lands right on your head, creating something that looks like this:
(And obviously you’ll just be sitting there, like, “Oh, bother.”)
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