Confessions of a Teenage First Year

Whether you were home last weekend, seeing family members this Family Weekend, or traveling for Thanksgiving soon, chances are — and especially if you’re a first year — you’re going to be hearing the age old question: “How’s college?!” Somehow, a simple two-word phrase can be laced with so much meaning. It goes hand in hand with the dreaded “How are you?!” How IS college, really? And how AM I, really? These aren’t questions you can just answer right off the bat! I mean, okay, that’s not entirely true. You can answer them right off the bat: “College is great/good/okay/terrible! I’m doing great/good/okay/terrible!” But that wouldn’t be the whole story, really. It’s a lot easier to just say “good” when someone asks you how you’re doing.

For first years, it’s hard to properly assess how school is going when we’ve only been here for a month-and-a-half, when most of us at least are probably still settling in and trying to find our way. I’ll be honest, I still have to use Google Maps to find a few of the buildings here. Actually, most of the buildings here. I don’t really know how to answer how I’m doing when I barely know what I’m doing! The transition from high school to college can be quite jarring. For a lot of people, it’s the first time being away from home for an extended period of time; pretty much everything here is new. There’s bound to be some growing pains. And the thing is, I’ve found that no one really mentions that when they talk about their college experience — or at least not at first.

I was a little freaked out at first coming here and having to fend for myself in the great wilderness of Providence. Obviously, I’m not really on my own, but going from living in the same familiar place my whole life to somewhere completely new without anyone to explicitly tell me what to do was a bit daunting to say the least. How long would it take to feel like I actually go here? Fortunately, this initial settling in took less time than I expected, and I’ve really seen that Brown is an amazing fit for me. Now I’m in a new phase of adjustment, trying to find my true place here.

I’m still finding my way. Yes, the hardest part for me — just getting here and getting comfortable with all the new changes — has definitely passed. I’m joining clubs and finding good study-spots and going to office hours and going out and attending speaker events and attempting to eat as well as I can at the Ratty. But sometimes, of course, I do still feel like I’m still a fish out of water, an obviously confused first-year (it probably doesn’t help that my water bottle says “Brown 2022” in big block letters). But that’s only natural. I think when I was younger I kind of assumed that once you hit 18 and/or went off to college, you’d suddenly be an adult. Like somehow a flip would be switched and suddenly you’d have all the answers, and you’d know what to do all the time. What I’m learning, though, is that this idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s the big secret that I’ve uncovered, and that everyone hides: no one completely knows what they’re doing. We’re all stumbling along, making mistakes and living on our own and doing “adult” things while still feeling a little like kids. Or maybe that’s just me — but it’s probably not.

And what I’m also figuring out is that it’s not a bad thing at all to sometimes feel less-than-prepared for the so-called “real world” — that’s what these four years are for afterall. So look, if you ask me how I’m doing, or how college is, I might still give you a one word answer, because that’s just how teenagers are. But of course that one word isn’t all I feel. Chances are I’m always going to be feeling a lot of different ways all the time, and it’s always going to be changing. I don’t feel nearly as nervous as I did a month ago, and I’m sure in another month I’ll have gotten even more comfortable. College is basically just one never-ending, confusing, exciting transition. Everyone is bound to get lost at some point as we all try to find our way, but I’m very glad that Brown is where I get to do that.

 


The best club (names) at Brown

The second semester activities fair is tomorrow tonight, and if you went first semester (ehem, freshmen), you’ll know it’s a completely intimidating affair with hoards of people crowded into a narrow space and hundreds of upper classmen demanding your email if you so much as glance at their poster. So, if you choose to forgo second semester activities in the much more civilized Alumae Hall (or just forgot), never fear! Brown has a nifty interface called BearSync that lists all of the 400+ clubs in a Facebook style fashion with a profile and a newsfeed of current happenings. And if that’s still too much for you to handle, some Brown clubs have particularly creative names that you should join for the sole purpose of being able to tell someone with a straight face you are a part of the ARRR!!! Club (said with truth enthusiasm).

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                 Proof of first semester madness

Beard Appreciation Society: I would imagine this club is a must for any semi-hipsters school. Their profile page claims to critique famous facial hair and discuss beards in the news and social media, and you don’t even need to have facial hair! While it’s unclear if any of that actually happens or not, the name will definitely make you chuckle.

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So many styles to discuss! Continue Reading


Drunk/Drunk/Sober/High/Crossfaded: Frosh Ball

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The BlogBabies were itching to get in on the Drunk/Sober/High action, and what’s more freshman than a Frosh Ball? Given that freshmen only roam in packs, we found it appropriate to expand the usual three person group by adding two new members, Crossfaded and another Drunk! We present the first ever Drunk/Drunk/Sober/High/Crossfaded.

Since no one ever shows up on time, we all agreed to meet at 10:00 p.m. to do our respective imbibing and/or smoking (or neither, poor Sober). 

10:03 p.m. Cross has already taken 3 shots by the time the rest of the BlogBabies arrive. She has been feeling nauseous and hungover all day, so she did not eat dinner. Not her best decision.

10:05 p.m. High shows up already pretty high because he “comes prepared.” For additional preparation, as he tells us later, he watched “a shit load of Ru Paul’s Drag Race before [he] came.”

In a rare turn of events for D/S/H, Sober is the last to arrive… prepared with her journalistic integrity and iPhone for notes.

Very quickly, Cross and High decide they need to be high/higher, respectively, and so commences the search for an appropriate place to smoke. In response to the suggestion of the trash room, High notes that “It is where I belong.”

10:14 p.m. We’ve found a room willing to host us.

10:16 p.m. Cross is fairly drunk now that she’s about 6 shots in. She’s pleased with herself for being functional enough to prep her bong.

C: Aren’t you always amazed when you see drunk people roll just the nicest jays ever? Muscle memory, man!

H: It looks like an Erlenmeyer flask. Would you like to meet my bowl, Venus? Looks like the atmosphere of Venus.

Drunk 1: Wait, how do you know that?

H:  I don’t know, I haven’t been there.

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Apparently this is Venus’    atmosphere. High’s bowl looked nothing like this.

10:32 p.m. Sober realizes that everyone is saying “Bojangles” for some unbeknownst reason and is once again realizing she is way too sober to deal with everyone.

Cross is staring at them while they go over the pronunciation of this weird word. She says nothing because she has NO idea what bojangles is. Is it the name of a famous clown like Bozo? A chain food place? A TV character? Continue Reading


Frosh-cessities: How to spend your free time during Orientation

Dear Freshmen,

Now that Orientation is under way, you’re probably becoming well-acquainted with its trade-mark surplus of downtime between mandatory events. For the over-bored or especially-overwhelmed, here are a few pro tips for how to spend all of that free time during your first few days on campus:

john hay library

Hang out in the libraries. Especially during those brutally hot first few days of Orientation and classes (have you seen the weather forecast?!), your disgustingly muggy dorm rooms are gonna get super gross, super fast. During the heat of the day, grab a book and head to the Rock, John Hay, or SciLi – there’s AIR CONDITIONING and it’s the perfect place to get some quiet alone time on campus outside of your room.

quiet green

GO OUTSIDE! As you’re probably aware, Brown’s campus is beautiful. So, when you’ve got a free hour or two, grab a blanket and some light reading or your computer (PSA: our lampposts have built-in outlets) and pop a squat on one of the greens.

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First Years: It is time to prepare for war

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Napoleon Bonaparte after a particularly enjoyable conversation at the orientation ice cream social, ca. 1812.

Listen up, First-Years.

As you arrive on campus you will be greeted with good wishes and encouragement. I was in your shoes only last year, so I remember those heady days well. But take my warning, friends, and do not let yourself be lulled into complacency, for hidden between the happy team-building activities lies the greatest battle of your life: The ice cream social.

“The Ice Cream Social?” You ask. “But that sounds like so much fun! Surely you are mistaken.”

I am not. To survive the evening of mingling and make-your-own-sundaes you must become a social warrior, raising a shield of vague responses as you charge through barrages of small-talk.

Agamemnon did not sail for Troy alone, and you should not show up at the social without a buddy. Pair up with your roommate, or anyone else that you already know a little bit. You and your roommate can cover for each other in group conversations by laughing at your own lame jokes and making references to your room (or any other commonality that you’ve already discussed). Battling through the social together is also a great way to bond with your roommate. Just ask the guys from Band of Brothers. [Ed. This might be a borderline exaggeration, but you’ll have to see for yourself!]

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Frosh-cessities: What to bring to Brown

So, you’re going to college. Maybe you’re excited or #nervous, or a combination of the two. Don’t worry – BlogDH has you covered with some packing tips and advice for the terrifying/exciting/overwhelming prospect that is moving to college. After you gather all the essentials (twin XL bedding, shower shoes, a can-do attitude, etc.), here are some other things to consider bringing to campus (or leaving at home):

Things you will definitely need

  • A fan is pretty essential for orientation and the first few weeks of the year, as it is still hot AF in Providence for the first half of September. Dorms do not have air conditioning, and the feeble, still-warm ‘breeze’ coming from your open window will be inadequate to keep you from waking up in an unfortunate you-shaped puddle of sweat every morning. Don’t worry – it cools down pretty quickly at the end of September into October, and you probably won’t need your fan again until maybe the final couple weeks of the year.
  • Command hooks and mounting strips are super helpful for hanging decorations, towels, bulletin boards, and other items on your walls. With enough command strips and blind optimism, you can keep pretty much anything up, even a full-length mirror on a slightly sticky cinderblock wall.
  • bank card is useful for monthly expenses, shopping at the largest carpeted mall in America (has this tour fact ever been actually verified?), and when you run out of points and Bear Bucks because of too many before-4 p.m. Blue Room muffins. Make sure to check your bank has a convenient location in Providence. There will also be a banking fair during orientation where you can check out these options in greater depth.
  • Cleaning supplies. Custodial Services cares for shared spaces, but not individual rooms. Please get and use them, for the sake of your roommate, or at least the night before Family Weekend. (Though you can probably wait until you get to campus to get these.) Odor-canceling spray is also great to have for spraying your comforter that you will probably never wash all year, and for the “Febreze walk-through” – spray mist in the air in front of you and glide on in. It’s a perfect ‘almost shower,’ a lazy, personal car-wash of sorts.
  • Rain gear, including a rain jacket, boots, and loyal and iron-willed umbrella, are pretty essential for Lil Rhody weather. Despite how scenic and lovely the Main Green looks come Spring, it will rain this year, and water will seep into your clothes, body, and spirit. Also, while many people wait until Thanksgiving Break to bring up their winter clothes, Providence weather can also be fairly unpredictable, and there can be the occasional rogue snowstorm in October.

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