The Do’s and Don’t’s of [email protected]

DO: go with a friend Plenty of people at [email protected] (the collective acronym for all of the [email protected] programs) came by themselves, not knowing anybody. But there was something nice about having a friend, especially on the first day, that we could check in and unpack with. The airport shuttle and initially confusing campus (all the red brick buildings and lush quads easily bleed together) are less intimidating with someone you already know by your side. DON’T: spend all of your time with them That said, it was easy to point out which groups of friends had come together, stayed together, and left Providence without meeting anyone new. Where’s the fun in that? We got to know students from all around the U.S., the U.K, Canada, Turkey, China, and Japan, just to name a few. Our friends were a range of fantastic people, none of whom we would’ve met if we had stayed together the whole time. DO: pack a fan Sure, you might think that an Ivy League university with a $50,000 tuition would be able to afford air conditioning in their dorms. Unfortunately, you’re wrong. Our fans were our best friends. We occasionally fell asleep cradling them next to our faces. DON’T: worry about your roommate Whether you get Grace’s free-spirited roommate from Hawaii or Iz’s quiet roommate from Brooklyn, there’s really nothing to fret about. The two of you will probably end up having different classes, schedules, and groups of friends–unless, of course, you get along great and choose to spend time together outside the dorm room. DO: participate in activities During our first Sunday there, as part of a larger orientation, the RAs hosted an activities fair. Most of the clubs met once or twice a week, and a free app called Guidebook helped all of us keep track of what activity was going on where and when. Grace went to an a cappella group, performing one evening on the Main Green, and Iz went to a feminism group on Tuesday nights. No matter what your interests are, there was a club for you. Nothing was too serious or time-intensive, and the college student leaders were always open to answering our questions about similar groups during the school year. DON’T: overdo it Don’t forget, this is still summer break for you. You’ll want time to relax after you finish your homework. At first, we filled our schedules with workshops, clubs, and meetings about anything we were even remotely interested in. But that left us no time for Netflix or homework on the Main Green. We each found a few activities we wanted to continue, and the extra time gave us the freedom we were looking for. DO: get to know your professors Both of our professors were current PhD students at Brown, so the classes were as much a learning experience for them as they were for us. From our experience, they were outgoing, approachable, and open to questions about their subject of expertise, college workloads, or anything else that might come up. It was easy to see how passionate they were about their interests. Grace is now Facebook friends with her professor, who only posts about art shows and her cats. DON’T: take your class too seriously The classes are pass/fail rather than graded, so they’re a great opportunity to experiment academically. You want to write a play about a teenager babysitting a psychopathic toddler? Go for it. Grace did. You want to leave bundles of candy and cute animal pictures all over campus for a final project? That’s cool. Iz did. Remember, this isn’t school! Have fun with your assignments. Risk-taking is the best way to learn. DO: make the most of living in a dorm Overall, we enjoyed communal living. It felt freeing to walk down the hallway in flip-flops and pajamas every night to brush our teeth, especially since there were other people in the bathroom doing the same thing. Who knew it was so easy to bond over personal hygiene? Just make sure you know the relative water pressures of the showers. There’s nothing more disappointing than ending a long day with a cold trickle down your back. And when you’re doing laundry, don’t put your detergent pod in the container for liquid detergent. Take it from us—it doesn’t work that way. DON’T: eat at the dining hall every day Contrary to popular belief, our dining hall food wasn’t that bad. (Although we wouldn’t recommend the breaded potato balls.) As long as we stopped there once a day for free soft serve, we were happy. But there was a whole city’s worth of restaurant options just a walk away– and they didn’t stop serving breakfast at 9:30. What better way to get to know a town than by eating its food? DO: explore the college town Brown’s campus is a five-minute walk from downtown Providence, and there was no shortage of activities to be done. After learning about the Stanford Prison Experiment in the classroom, Iz’s entire class (teachers included) walked to an indie theatre to see the newly released movie for themselves. The free concert series on Friday nights, the flea markets on Sunday mornings, and the strange, vaguely Satanic outdoor festival called Waterfire were all a blast. Go out, explore! DON’T: be afraid to spend time on campus Despite the constant stream of activities going on in Providence and beyond (Brown’s campus is, after all, only a train ride away from Boston), staying on campus is definitely underrated. We spent a lot of time on the Main Green, studying and reading and chatting, and jogging around the countless quads and libraries. Brown’s campus is just as beautiful as they say it is. Except, of course, for the Science Library, twice voted the ugliest building in Providence. But even the SciLi offers a quiet study space for heavier homework days. You’ve been given a unique opportunity—take advantage of it! DO: take a campus tour On one of our last days at Brown, the two of us decided to go on an hour-long campus tour. We met at 11 on the Main Green, and without anyone noticing, quickly blended in among the throng of over-eager parents and their kids. But honestly, it was one of the highlights of our entire experience. We learned new things about the university, even after living on campus for two weeks, and got a glimpse of Brown from a more admissions-centric perspective. DON’T: do a summer college program because you think it will help you get accepted there That said, neither of us came to [email protected] because we wanted to go to Brown and were looking for something to put on our college application a couple years down the road. And that’s really not the reason to do a pre-college program. In fact, as the RA’s were eager to tell us on the first day, the acceptance rate for kids who do the summer program is actually lower than the average. If you have the money and the time, go for it– the two of us had a lot of fun on campus– but don’t expect to have an easier time getting into an Ivy League university because you spent part of a summer there. DO: embrace your independence The wonderful thing about college and college-based programs is that you get to build your own schedule. For some, that means waking up at noon every day and walking to Chipotle for your only meal (like Sarah, a girl in Iz’s class), or ordering French toast and eggs at the local diner five times in three days (like Molly, a girl from Grace’s). It means mid-morning naps, staying up until 2 am to write poetry, eating Lucky Charms out of a Ziploc bag, and walking to the nearest Apple Store when your computer starts beeping uncontrollably. It means talking your way into The Melting Pot for chocolate fondue, even though it closed twenty minutes earlier, and accidentally running across a highway on your way back. You’re lucky enough to get to spend a few weeks on your own, without parents, getting a small taste of the freedom that college will provide in a couple of years. And no matter what you decide to do with that opportunity, you certainly won’t forget it anytime soon.]]>