Snapshots of Brown: The Course That Changed My Life


It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  While that may be true, there is also a lot of value in the story behind the picture.  Let Snapshots of Brown with Corrine Szczesny introduce you to the majestic college campus and deep-rooted traditions of Brown University.  

To be completely honest, I came to Brown with almost no idea what I wanted to study.  I was interested in engineering, but I was not sure which type of engineering.  In addition, I did not know what I wanted to do after college.  It is likely that many of you feel the same way.  As you apply for colleges and wait for your acceptance letters, you might start to wonder what you are going to do once you get accepted.  How are you supposed to choose courses to take when you have not figured out what type of degree these courses are building towards?

First of all, do not worry if you feel a little uncertain about your life post-college.  After all, you still have a few years to go before that will become a reality.  If that is not a very reassuring thought, I will let you in on a little secret about college: you are going to take a course that changes your life.  That might sound like hyperbole, and maybe it is in some ways, but you will definitely find a course that excites you and helps you figure out exactly what you want to study.  For me, that course was Neuroengineering (ENGN 1220).

I was lucky enough to take Neuroengineering during the spring semester of my sophomore year.  For those of you who do not know, this is the semester when you are required to file your intended concentration.  After this semester, you can still change concentrations or file an additional concentration, so you should not feel too pressured to know exactly what you are going to do at this point, although it is nice to have some idea.  Neuroengineering gave me a definite plan; I am double concentrating in neuroscience and engineering.

So, what does this all have to do with Brown?  It is true that you could have a favorite class no matter where you go to school, but I feel like Brown provides more options.  The open curriculum allows students to take courses in all different departments throughout your four years here.  Almost any course that you are interested in is accessible.  Your tuition dollars should go towards classes you want to take, not classes someone else has determined you need to take.  Additionally, Brown encourages professors to teach across disciplines; where else are you going to find a class that combines neuroscience and art or archeology and medicine?  With all of these options, you are guaranteed to find a course that is life-changing.

If you choose Brown as your home the next four years, know that you will have the opportunity to design your path towards a degree and collect some favorite classes along the way.  I certainly did.

Email me your suggestions or any questions you have about life at Brown at


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