Recently, I was sitting and examining my food in the Ratty when the topic of going to the gym came up. Like most freshmen conversations, it took a few minutes for everyone to agree on 1) the terminology for the discussion (is the OMAC the same as Nelson and is there a name for the one in Keeney?) and 2) the actual location of what we were talking about (is that where they had the club fair?).
For me, the discussion seemed entirely irrelevant because I do not plan to go to any of those. But then I heard someone say something along the lines of, “I can’t go to that one, because it’s really far and everyone there is really intense about exercise. There will be like, a grad student of environmental science running 5k way faster than I could do 1.”
Me: Wait what? I don’t even recycle.
Other person: How is that related?
Me: Like, I don’t really exercise and obviously I don’t have a PhD but like I don’t even recycle.
OP: But like I’m not sure all those things are in the same category?
My point was, of course, that a lot of people on this campus aren’t just smart; they achieve things. They live organized, balanced lives. I have difficulty with the door to the SciLi after 10 p.m. I think a constant sensation of the beginning of freshman year is: Woah, how do you have time for all that and pregaming?
Of course, most of us lived these hectic lives in high school; we did the whole extra-curriculars scene, ate a meal with our parents, socialized and did enough AP courses to end up here at Brown. But there is something about being here, being new again, that brings about that same intimidation we felt at 14.
Freshmen: you’re not stupid! They’re all faking it too! It’s just slightly easier when you don’t have to use Google maps on your iPhone to figure out where your next class is (or more importantly, where exactly you are).
I figured this out in my first discussion sections, when I remembered I do actually know how to discuss texts and therefore can handle college, and when I discovered that even the least awkward coolest freshmen were having anxieties.
I still have conversations like this though:
Other Person: No, I can’t handle the gym either! It’s way too intimidating because I run weird and also I just don’t know how people make time for that. It’s too much mental work for me, and then the shower, it’d devour my day.
Me: EXACTLY! And also I can’t be bothered to recycle!
OP: I’m an environmental studies concentrator.