25 Things I Would Tell My Freshman Self

I am now a sophomore. I can’t believe that one year ago, I was an anxious freshman who always carried a map in my backpack just in case I got lost.

Freshman year was a huge transition from high school, and although I knew college would be a learning experience, I had no idea it would be this fulfilling and enriching. If I could give my freshman self a preview of what the year would bring, this is what I would say:

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1. TWTP (Third World Transition Program) will be your first experience of Brown as a freshmen and it will make a lasting impression. You will deeply admire the MPC’s and MPC Friends, and you will want to become an MPC.  You will openly discuss the -isms (racism, heterosexism, sexism, imperialism, etc), be exposed to issues you never knew existed, all while forming close relationships with the people in this community.  You will come out of TWTP wanting to make a difference.

2. You will still be a night owl. You will think you can handle the 9am Chinese class every day of the week, but in fact, everytime your alarm goes off at 8am you will die a little inside.

3. You will love your freshmen dorm, Champlin. You will appreciate how the V-dub is connected to Champlin when it is freezing outside, and you will appreciate how the gym is connected to Champlin when you want to run at odd hours of the day and night.

4. You will realize even more that dance is medicine for your soul. You will join Attitude Dance Company, and you will take dance classes, and you will be a generally happy person because you dance almost every day. However, your hip-hop will still need major help.

5. You will learn to be less afraid. So what if a class is already full? Attend the class anyways, and talk to the professor afterwards. You have every right to be there, people always drop, and situations always change if you are persistent enough.

6. You will see Avatar in 3D!!

7. You will enjoy the convenience of having the Providence Place Mall within walking distance of Brown.


8. You will love the classes you choose in all its diversity and variety– from Mande Dance to Multi-variable Calculus, from The Music of Everyday Objects to Culture and Human Behavior.

9. You will do things you never thought you would, like help a friend dye her hair purple.

10. You will do things you never thought you would, like use a nail-gun and a chop-saw  to build houses in New Orleans with members of the Brown-RISD-Catholic Community.

11.You will discover that when your alarm rings and you turn it off, thinking you can wake yourself up five minutes later without re-setting your alarm, that you are so. very. wrong.

12. You will meet and become very good friends with someone who changes his mind and his concentration like it is his job. He will consider international relations, biochemistry, anthropology, enviromental studies, among other concentrations, which is totally cool, because the open curriculum wants and allows students to explore their interests. BUT you will finally talk sense into him and convince him to concentrate in Applied Math-Biology.

13. You will become addicted to the soft-serve ice cream at the V-dub. You will discover the deliciousness of hot fudge over vanilla ice cream, and you will want it at every meal. (Actually, you still do). This is a BAD habit. STOP.

14. You will pack way too many clothes, and just stuff in general. And then you will learn your lesson and pack half as much next year.

15. You will focus too much on extra-curriculars and not enough on classes your first semester, and then you will pay for it later by realizing that you are in the wrong math class three weeks into the fall semester. And then you will be very stressed figuring out what to do and how to catch up, but then you will have a teacher who will make you love math even more. And then eventually everything will fall into place and you will realize that everything works out in the end.

16. You will learn your way around campus. You will discover shortcuts to classes because you like efficiency, and new studying spaces because you like change.

17. You will find that time flies when you’re doing math.

18. You will discover that your self-discipline is not as great as you thought it was, and that you take study breaks even when you can’t afford to take study breaks because your excuse is: “I need a study break!” But don’t worry, you will acquire more self-discipline after you go to China.

19. You will go to CHINA !!! (Betcha didn’t see that one coming). Eight weeks of your summer will be spent learning Chinese by weekday and exploring China by weekend. You will understand why Chinese is the one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world. You will learn to study efficiently and not waste time, and that “Character is the will to follow through with resolutions long after the spirit in which they were made has passed.” – Napoleon Hill.  Resolutions such as: I will not procrastinate. Or: I will not aimlessly facebook. (Basically the same thing.)

20. You will climb the Great Wall, visit the Garden of Eternal Light, take an 11 hour train ride from Beijing to Xi’an, and visit the Olympic Venues, among other breathtaking places. You will make unforgettable friends, and because of the language pledge you will all adhere to when you will be in China, you will find it weird speaking to each other in English, even after the program is over. So you won’t.

21. As unforgettable as China will be, you will miss Brown every single day. Random things will make you remember Brown: the way sunlight hits a building, the way a teacher talks to her class. Walking to class will remind you of walking down Thayer, and friends in China will remind you of friends at Brown.

22.  You will wish you had a camera to document all the unforgettable events, all the breathtaking places you came across your freshmen year. You will get a camera right before you leave for China, and then you will take too many pictures because you were camera-deprived freshmen year. (Actually, I take that back. No such thing as too many pictures.)

23. You will realize that every obstacle you encountered made you a stronger person.

24. You will be amazed at how fast freshmen year went by, but at the same time, you will be amazed at how much has happened, and how much Brown has come to feel like a second home  (ahh cliché, don’t judge me!)

25.  As a sophomore, you will STILL carry a map in your backpack. Just in case you get lost.

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2 Responses to 25 Things I Would Tell My Freshman Self

  1. Joanna Marrufo says:

    Hi.
    This blog posting is amazing. I am a senior from Baldwin Park, CA and was perusing the Brown website and I found a link to this blog on the minorities page. I have been waitlisted to Brown and am still sure Brown is my top choice…If you have any suggestions on how I can convince admissions by phone feel free to email me. I would appreciate it so much. But for now, you’re words make me even more eager to attend this school!

  2. Jasmine Brown says:

    I love this. I am a rising senior thinking about applying early decision to Brown. I have been facing a lot of opposition about applying early decision because it risks making a commitment to go here even if they don’t offer me enough money. But I love Brown and this gives me motivation that its worth the risk because I really want to get in the school and applying early decision increases my chances. Thank you so much for the motivation.

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