Last Call: Darian Surratt

Then + Now

Then + Now

As the semester progresses at the speed of light, the senior class is beginning to make peace with that fateful day in May: Commencement. Until the class of 2015 leaves us, BlogDH wants to highlight all the interesting things they’ve been up to. To this end, we’re (re)starting the series Last Call, which features seniors reflecting on their experiences at Brown. Each featured senior will tag another senior for the next installment. Find this year’s other “Last Call” chain here and our RISD “Last Call” chain here.

People might know me as… Darebear, Naomi, Leila, or Layla.

In my time at Brown, I am most proud of… managing to watch all four seasons of Ugly Betty, among other things, during Fall 2014 finals. I’m extremely proud of my level of dedication and followthrough in this instance, and I hope it will translate to other things I do moving forward.

On Friday night, you might find me… convincing my reluctant friends to drink and go out with me and falling asleep before we make it out of the apartment.

Three things I wish I knew freshman year…

  1. CAPS exists and they’re literally there to listen to you talk about your issues, however big or small. I wish I had known that it was not only okay to ask for help, but that we might all be a little better off if we could admit that sooner.
  2. Read Morning Mail!!! A lot of people miss really cool events on campus because they don’t read it. (p.s.: sometimes Heavy Petting is only advertised on morning mail and you don’t want to miss that)
  3. If you shop a class that you’re excited about and find yourself bored while sitting in, DON’T TAKE IT (unless you have to). It probably won’t get better, even if the material looks really interesting.

Ratty vs. V-Dub… Ratty with my bffs Uday Agrawal and Abby Plummer.

In my time at Brown, I think the best thing I did was my capstone project, “Race in Sociology: Towards a More Inclusive and Critical Curriculum.” I worked with a close friend to write a critique of how our department handles conversations about race and develop four hypothetical courses about race we think our department could use. Our project has stimulating a lot of important conversations in our department and we’re already beginning to see some meaningful changes.

One thing you wish you had done at Brown is… double concentrated in Africana Studies and Computer Science.

After graduation, you plan to… pursue a career as a young adult novelist.

What’s the hardest class you’ve taken at Brown? If you could do it over, would you still take it? Hmmm, I might say physio. I thought it would be a more in-depth version of the anatomy and physio class I took in high school, but the material was presented in an incredibly dry manner. I just really, really couldn’t get myself motivated and it made learning the material nearly impossible. I probably wouldn’t take that again, but there’s other cool bio stuff I wish I’d explored.

What’s the most rewarding extracurricular you’ve been a part of? Why? I think the thing that’s been the most rewarding for me is working on ADOCH and with the Bruin Club. I think there is something incredibly meaningful and important about playing a role in helping people figure out if Brown is the place for them. I also think there’s something incredibly beautiful about planning events that become the moments when students realize this is where they’re meant to be. Also in planning the ADOCH Mental Health Panel (with the kick-ass E-Soo Kim ’15), I’ve been able to share some of my experiences with grief and mental health struggles in a way that feels productive and impactful.

One piece of advice for underclassmen? I would say, as would many seniors and motivational posters, not to be afraid to take risks and to try new things. More specifically I would say please, please, please don’t get discouraged from trying something because you think you might be bad at it. I wasted a lot of my time at Brown avoiding things I thought would be too hard for me, things I realized later that I really loved and was good at, because I didn’t believe I was smart to take certain classes or do certain things. (For folks with marginalized identities, check out Claude Steele’s Whisting Vivaldi for reasons why that might be.) Also if try something and it doesn’t turn out to be your specialty or your life’s passion, try something else.

Describe your thesis, lolmythesis style. “Dear White People”: Racism exists (even in Sociology), it’s bad, and we should talk about it.

Answer to Uday’s Question: I’m literally Liz Lemon.

“Jenna: Liz, that guy over there wants to buy you a drink!
Liz: I already have a drink, can he buy me mozzarella sticks???”

Up next: Mark Valdez!

Question for Mark: What is your spirit song from 1989 and why?

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