It’s been a while since I last wrote, and the beautiful weather today (it’s 90 degrees right now!) inspired me.
It’s easy to love Brown when the weather is gorgeous. The sun is shining and there are cherry and magnolia blossoms everywhere. Students carry boxes of take-out from the Ratty and the Vdub and sit on the Main Green and Wriston Quad, chatting with friends and exulting in spring’s long-awaited arrival. Everyone is in a good mood, and the atmosphere of the campus is even more joyful than usual.
But, for some, spring isn’t all about sunning on the grass. Certainly, final exams and papers are approaching too fast for everyone’s liking, but sophomores and seniors have additional stress. Seniors are, of course, almost done with their time at Brown, and nearly all of my friends in the Class of 2010 are sad to leave and anxious about the next step in their lives. That’s an intrinsic part of college almost everywhere. But the sophomore stress is different. At Brown, mid-April (for the Class of 2012 April 14, a week from today) is concentration declaration season.
For some, declaring is easy. I’ve wanted to be a marine biologist since I was four years old, said so when I applied and simply need to have my concentration advisor sign my declaration before it’s official. For me, deciding what I wanted to study was the easy part. For others, they’ve taken amazing classes in so many departments that it’s hard to choose where they want to focus their next and last two years at Brown.
However, there’s so much more to declaring your concentration than picking your concentration. You need map out the next four semesters of classes– what are you taking to fulfill your concentration and when? And, there’s the essay. Why do you want to study this? How do the classes you’re planning to take fulfill Brown’s Liberal Learning Goals of breadth and depth? I spent time over Spring Break mulling these questions, and have returned to Brown better for it. For so long, I’ve been chugging along, fulfilling requirements and taking additional classes when I had space without pausing to contemplate the bigger picture– how are my four (expensive) years at Brown going to mold me? How do I want to leave Brown?
It’s a lot of heady thinking, especially when it’s so nice outside, so I’m going to wrap up. To all the 2014 admits, congratulations! I’ll be doing call-outs at the Admissions Office this evening and tomorrow– maybe I’ll talk to you! For those who received the online version of the proverbial thin envelope: certainly, Brown is an amazing place to be. But it’s not the only place. And for those whose college application process is still to come, keep reading this blog and learning about Brown. Hopefully, our excitement comes through enough that you want to be here too someday.