Sunday, June 19, 2011

Brown At Last!

We are at Brown at last! After five nights of staying in Hotel Providence and four days of college tours, we are finally fulfilling our main purpose of this trip. Over this past week, the five of us Brown # 1 cohorts have become really close, and Ms. Larson has become our ILC mom. Today, Andrew, Erin, Erinn, Frank, and I spread our wings and flew out of Mama Larson’s nest and into the real world known as Brown University. I already miss Ms. Larson, but I am also excited meet new people, learn new things, and live independently here.

I was becoming so situated and comfortable with our hotel that packing felt strange. However, I was looking forward to experiencing a dorm. I live in the Marcy House with Erinn while Frank is in our neighboring building and Erin and Andrew are off in another area. The dorms are not quite what I expected, but in a short while, I'll feel right at home. Sharing bathrooms with the many girls in my house will be a new experience and hopefully not a bad one. The people in my house come off as friendly and approachable. It’s always fun meeting new and interesting people for the first time. A conversation naturally builds from introductions and asking questions about where people are from and what class they are taking. I was one of the many people on my floor to get a single room. I’m not sure if I like this or not. I was looking forward to meeting my roommate, but then again, not sharing a room allows me to have personal space.

The day was pretty busy, and I didn’t have much time to explore Brown thoroughly yet. From what I have seen walking around and driving here, Brown is composed of many red brick buildings, which I adore. We had a student orientation once most people checked in. The room was filled with hundreds of students. They laid the ground rules down for us, including the obvious “no alcohol or drugs” and curfews, which our RAs (residential advisors) expanded on. Our school day curfew is 11:30 and our weekend curfew is 12:30 AM, which means that we must check in with our RA by that time or else they will issue a missing student search, something I’m sure no one wants to instigate. My RA is a sophomore at Brown named Elisa who is extremely nice and caring and lives right next door to me. We had two floor meetings with our RA with everyone on my floor assigned to Elisa. We played several fun icebreakers that introduced us to the people we will be living with for the next three weeks. I have a feeling that I’ll have a blast with these wonderful people.I was eager to experience college dining. I didn't know what to expect so I was impressed that the dining hall had such a vast array of food. There was unique dishes that I hadn't tried before but was enthusiastic to taste. It was laid out buffet-style, with freshly served food such as pasta, rice, salad, fruit, and deserts. After dinner, most students attended an ice cream social put on by the school. I had a great time socializing with different people with my mingling partner, Erinn.

Tomorrow is when the real work begins. I actually look forward to starting my Macroeconomics course with Erin and Andrew. Time to get some sleep to reenergize my brain!

My Social Excursion

Despite my assumption that checking into Brown and the dorms would take long, it as short. I got my essentials of Brown—my Brown ID card, a packet of orientation information, including an invaluable map, my schedule and my dorm room and key—in minutes. I got my luggage and had plenty of time to relax and explore some of the campus.

Orientation supplied me with supplemental knowledge of the school and facilities. I tried to take a picture of the speaker while she was talking and got it, but I was called out—I was really embarrassed and understand that there are limits to what I can and cannot take a picture of.

During orientation, the entire group split of into groups led by his Resident Assistant (RA). My RA was an enthusiastic person, whom I met before orientation. We played games, including the evolution game, where there is a competition of rock, paper, scissor and each game won moves the person from an egg, to a chicken, to a dinosaur, to a princess—the final stage—and a rock, paper scissors tournament. I never reached passed egg or reached passed any level of the tournament, but I wasn’t trying, I wanted to explore, which we did.

The tour ended at the dining hall. I always thought that dorm food was disgusting, but the food I saw was regular; there was nothing special about it or repulsive about it. Someone told me that dorm food was horrible because of the repetition of the same foods. I would lose interest in the same foods every day, so I know to vary my diet from the dorm food to refrain from adopting the same attitudes of my peers.

My first amazement of college was how quick students found Frisbees. As soon as Erin threw her Frisbee, two other guys joined the square, then one more. Instead of a game between friends, it became a communal event. I enjoyed seeing how easy it was for other students to get involved in the game. I haven’t had a full day at Brown, but I am already immersed into the driving force of college—mass Frisbee games.

Although I disagree with the social events, such as the ice cream social, that initiate—force—student bonding, I met new students that I hope to meet again and also found a member of my class. I think it should be natural like the Frisbee game; everyone becoming friends in the environment that he shares. Yet this is coming from a very antisocial person that likes to meet people at her own pace. It works better for me, but that is just my experience.

The festivities continued when the RAs called meetings that furthered our dorm floor bonding. I got to know more about my neighbors, but it was not as friendly as walking with the RA around campus.

Classes start tomorrow, where I anticipate meeting students that share my passion in biotechnology. There are more opportunities to meet students, and I will try to make the most of the RAs’ activities.

Jameson House, Room 005

Last night, Erinn, Kathleen, Ms. Larson and I went to check out the Gay Pride Parade that was blocking all the surrounding streets of our hotel. The music was deafening but thrilling as people danced down the street blowing whistles and waving to the surrounding crowds.

We ate breakfast at Tazza Café again. I got a serving of corn beef hash with a cheese and chive biscuit. I helped Ms. Larson out with her huge stack of blueberry pancakes as well. I strongly recommend this café if any readers find themselves in Providence. The food is good and the waitresses are friendly.

We checked into Brown University after breakfast. I received a name tag (which is very helpful in the friend-making process), a school map, a lanyard, an ID card, a two room keys, and a laminated card with emergency phone numbers. I was set!

Ms. Larson left us with a tearful farewell and we were off to our dorms. Andrew and I are both living in the Keeney Quad which is close to the main green where we checked in. Andrew helped me find my house, Jameson, before heading off to his house, Bronson.

I had trouble opening the main door with my luggage and my bags, but I managed to stumble through the entrance to Jameson. I had no idea where my room was, so I hid my luggage in a corner and ran around the dorm to find J005. Finally, I used my brain and went to the bottom floor and found my room just a few steps from the stairwell. I ran back up the stairs to retrieve my stuff. A few families gave me weird looks as my luggage clunked down the stairs. I smiled at them even though my arm muscles strained and sweat beaded on my face. Act normal…

My roommate’s name is Olivia Spector from Manhattan, New York. While she moved in, I talked to her and her mother explaining where I was from and what class I was taking. As we unpacked, a lot of people from our floor came into our room to socialize. Dana Trentalange and Chloe Doto were the first two to join us and we talked a ton to get to know each other. Nobody on our floor has the same class. Some examples of the classes they are taking are American History (1940-1970), Entrepreneurship, Literature of the Fantastic, and Themes from Existentialism.

Everyone in a three-week program met up for an orientation where camp directors went over rules, expectations, and safety procedures. From there, our RA (Residential Advisor) took us on a short campus tour. I still need to explore the campus more to get a feel where everything is. Similar to Telegraph Street by UC Berkeley, Thayer Street runs by Brown University and it is filled with places to eat and shop.

Before dinner, my floor mates and I passed time by throwing around a Frisbee on one of the many patches of lawn. Some guys stopped by to hang with us. Ultimate Frisbee is a popular sport in colleges, but I have yet to play a game.

Dinner was located in one of the three dining halls, Verney-Wooley Dining Hall. I had a light dinner of brown rice, carrot sticks, lettuce, and croutons. I just realized how strange that sounds.

After dinner, all of the people at Summer@Brown (1-weekers, 3-weekers, and 7-weekers) met at Patriots Court for an Ice Cream Social (which occurs every Sunday). An RA hosted a Twister game which I dropped out of when he said, “Right ear on green!”

I did not have any ice cream but I did socialize. I met international students from Turkey to Costa Rica. Apparently there were students from every single state in the U.S. except North Dakota. Andrew was very popular with the girls. Frank and I met a pair of theatrical Connecticans that taught us funny handshakes.

Our floor meeting was at 9pm sharp. Our RA, Mikalei Gordon, collected our cell phone numbers and recapped rules and regulations. My floor mates and I named our floor group after Mikalei’s room number: 007. We played “Two Truths and a Lie” and then we pulled out our laptops to add everyone on FaceBook. Social networking is a beautiful thing.

The dorm bathrooms are quaint and the stall doors don’t close all the way. There are no paper towels so my floor mate Lena Kesden dried her face under the hand dryer.

The Introduction to Macroeconomics starts tomorrow. Andrew, Kathleen and I have our books and we are ready to learn. We’re waking up and meeting up early tomorrow to hit the dining hall before the crowd and to find our classroom.

Today was a great first day. See you tomorrow!

Brown University: Day 1

It is flabbergasting that you can sleep in the Brown dorms without blankets. The humidity here is so nice that it is not cold even at night. In the mornings, it can be a slight annoyance, but I have met people from hotter climate areas who say the weather is a relief. The diversity in Brown's pre-college program is amazing.

Sadly, today was our last day with our wonderful chaperon, Ms. Larson! Hopefully we will see each other one day in the far distant future. I wish her the best in her time without us, and we all miss her company dearly.

Today, we checked-in to the program and moved into our dorms. I am in the Olney House, which is in the same quad as Erinn and Kathleen. Andrew and Erin reside in the Keeney quad. My dorm room is a single room, so I get lonely at times without Andrew's contagious laughter. Although the privacy is a benefit, if we lock ourselves out of the room we will be charged $25 per lock-out. The single dormers must be especially careful and responsible.

We received our Brown IDs today. I got a temporary ID which will means I have to receive my legitimate ID tomorrow. I see it as a good opportunity to get used to the campus. We purchased our textbooks as well, and some of us have started early reading. Class starts tomorrow!

We enjoyed a campus tour, met our floor-mates, and ate dinner. The campus was much more open than other schools, it was weaved into the actual city a lot more than other campuses. Brown is a place where many nearby residents come to relax.

After dinner, we went to the ice cream social. We were able to meet tons of new people (names flew from my mind as quickly as they came). A lot of people came from places like Costa Rica, Turkey, China, South Korea, Hawaii, etc. The list goes on. Unfortunately, it was impossible to get to know everyone, just because of the pure size of the Brown pre-college group. It was definitely a friendly experience.

On a personal note, a lot of people commented on my American accent when speaking Chinese, and told me that I spoke Spanish rather well (with an accent). I met my "long-lost brother" who shared a last name with my mother and met many California residents as well. It was all very fun, and everyone was in a good mood.

I hope that Kathleen, Erinn, Erin, and Andrew are enjoying their time here too. We don't have as much time to talk to each other anymore, but our group is still close!


Brown Session I: Ready to Begin Their Journey!

Brown Cohort 1 is ready to begin their summer programs at Brown!
All checked in and ready to go!

Packing the car and heading to the dorms

Andrew, Erin, Erinn, Frank and Kathleen are all set and ready to begin this amazing journey at Brown! I felt like a proud mother as I got them all checked in at their dorms. There were hundreds of other students with their rolling suitcases and little brothers and sisters at their sides as they said their goodbyes to their loved ones. With that being said, I truly felt that these last six days we have really bonded as a group. We have spent a lot of time in the car together talking about various things, sharing stories and cultural backgrounds, singing along to songs together and simply getting to know one another. It really has been so much fun seeing all of them open up to one another as they prepare for this amazing experience at Brown University.

After saying our goodbyes and parting ways, I felt so proud to be with them as they venture out to meet new classmates from all over the world. I could sense their anticipation and possibly a little nervousness as we sat at breakfast this morning. However, I have no doubt in my mind that they are all going to do so well. I am also literally 5 minutes down college hill from them! This hotel is just not the same without their presence and I do miss them already! Maybe it’s the sentimental counselor in me but Andrew, Erin, Erinn, Frank and Kathleen are unique, smart and amazing young men and women and have the world at their feet. I can’t wait to see what these next few weeks at Brown brings. I wish them all the luck and don’t forget to check-in with me every day! The road trips to college campuses won't be the same without your company!

Hidden Treasures of Brown University

Today marked the beginning of our academic endeavors at Brown University. We were all feeling the same as our parents when we departed from them on June 11 at 3 a.m. We were exuberant to begin a new segment of our journey, but also a little dejected because we will not be seeing some of our fellow cohorts and chaperone that we have spent almost every second with. But as I stated in my first blog, this is just part of the maturation process that all college students will have to go through.

We started the morning off by repeating our brunch at Caffe Taza. It was just as delicious as yesterday, maybe even a little more. After brunch we headed back to the hotel to gather our belongings and head out to Brown University. We left with great expectations because through all of the Brown alums we talked to, Brown seems like one of the best academic institutions that a young person could attend. As we arrived to Brown, the check in process was quite smooth because all of our paper work was complete, so we were set to go. At this point it was time to say our goodbyes to our chaperone, this was a little touching moment, but we were all ready to purse a great education for three weeks.

I checked into my dorm with a little apprehension as to whom and what my roommate would be like. But once I met he and his father that feeling of uneasiness was removed. He seems to be very nice and ambitious as well about his education. His name is Sid and he is from New Jersey, so I hope to learn a lot about him and his culture throughout these next three weeks. The actual dorm is quite spacious, but nothing special at all. It contains a standard closet, desk, bed, and drawers. It was not as bad as I suspected.

As we got acquainted we headed down for a student orientation. This basically outlined for us the basic procedures, rules and regulations we are expected to adhere to. We went on a very brief campus tour, actually I would not even call it that. It was more like a general debriefing of Brown. I hope to uncover the whole Brown campus throughout our three week stay.

Moving from the Campus tour we had dinner. It was a standard dorm meal, consisting of an assortment of items to choose from. But at this point in our stay, all of Brown session one has made so many new friends and connections. We had an “ice cream social” event. It included ice cream and socializing with everyone at Brown. At this social event I was amazed to see not only my cohort’s wings spread but mines as well in connecting and mingling with many new people. By the end of the event I would say that our group alone met approximately 100 or more people, ranging from Turkey, to Puerto Rico, to Brazil, and all around the world. Also at this social event Erin Miller and Frank took part in a massive game of twister which was quite entertaining.

After this splendid event we all had a long and arduous floor meeting. Basically the Residential aids further harped upon and amplified the dos and don’ts of Brown. This was a long day and cannot wait to see what tomorrow has in store for me.

Boston: Stanley Cup Parade, Fenway and Radius

Frank and Andrew

Dinner at Radius: Erinn, Andrew, Frank, Kathleen, Erin, me and Amy (Brown alum)

Erin, Kathleen and Erinn all dressed up and ready for dinner

Brown I Cohort loving Boston!

Kathleen, Erin and I on the "T"

Delicious brunch before heading to Boston

Erin, Andrew, Frank, Kathleen and Erinn in front of Fenway

Fenway Park

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