• September 13, 2019 |

    how to survive brunonia

    brown and blueno and bears, oh my!

    article by , illustrated by

    Ah, the annual ritual we call “coming to Brown.”

    Or, perhaps, “coming back to Brown.” I’m a senior, so I’ve been doin’ it since some of you youngsters were still in diapers.

    During my time at Brown, I’ve picked up a few things about starting the semester that I wish I’d known from the beginning. Here are a few: 

    1. If you’re a returning student, make sure to start the year off strong. Think happy thoughts. Make sure you have a strong support network. It might feel like you’re a lab rat returning to the electrified section of the cage, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Really. Maybe the generator is broken this time. You never know.
    2. If this is your first time coming to Brown—well, good luck, Charlie. 
    3. Don’t sign up for thirty clubs during your first week. You don’t need to. Really, I promise. Nobody is looking at your club involvement and judging you. Nobody will be personally offended if you turn down their elevator pitch in the Ratty omelet line. The last thing you want is for your email to become a flood of Listserv emails that you’ll never actually unsubscribe from. 
    4. Get some fairy lights. They tie the room together. Any room. Even the Ratty bathroom. Just invest. You’ll thank me later.
    5. There’s a lot of interesting classes at Brown, and we’re lucky to have an accommodating shopping period. But if your shopping period schedule could only be accomplished with a time-turner in hand, it might be time to cut some options. Especially considering that a lot of classes expect you to keep up with problem sets and readings starting from day one. After all, you don’t want to overload your first two weeks with stress—it will only get worse. 
    6. Don’t wear nice shoes to a frat party. You’re going to end up disappointed. 
    7. A phenomenon I personally love to exploit is the “Freshman First.” Mistakenly thought of as only applicable to freshman year, this phenomenon actually applies to all classes, though its effect wanes as time spent in college increases. What I’m talking about, of course, is the freshman scramble to make friends when everyone is trying oh so hard to connect. Though this is certainly more obvious in the first year, people generally tend to be much more open to new connections at the beginning of the year. So make sure to use that to your advantage.
    8. There are few things in this world that release a comparably large amount of serotonin as Chicken Finger Friday at the VDub. If you’re still on meal plan, treasure it. If you’re not, find some underclassmen to befriend. 
    9. Don’t let the FOMO get to you. I know, the first two weeks are a deluge of party after party, club-hosted events, and general friendly get-togethers. It’s natural to want to have fun, but if you find yourself on the way to your fifth party on a Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., it might be time to slow down. Prioritize your health, sleep, and time to yourself—while you still can. I know it’s difficult to convince yourself to stay home every once in a while, especially when everyone else seems to be having so much fun on Instagram and Snapchat, but it’s a good way to stave off immediate social exhaustion.
    10. That said, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on these first few weeks! Make sure you’re tapped into some sources (essentially, Facebook events) to make sure you’re not missing out on anything you’re really pumped about. My best advice is to make a Facebook friend that hits “interested” on every event happening on campus, so you’re always notified of what’s going on.

    Tread on, young grasshoppers. Brunonia awaits you.