Second Time Around: In Which I Cherish the Omnipotent Horror of Reading Period


“She doesn’t even go here!” Here you’ll learn more about the life of a transfer to Brown University. I’m Wenbo Bai, a first semester sophomore fall transfer, and this is my Second Time Around.

No computers available on the main floor of the usually empty Rock? People wearing pajama pants in the Blue Room on a Saturday night? Someone in the CIT cursing at the Brown Band after they interrupted his studying  Christmas carols? Oh yeah. The end is near! It’s reading period. 

At Brown, classes don’t observe Reading Period, which means some students have classes throughout this week. I’m eternally grateful that none of my classes meet this week, since I have paper due on Friday (which, after spending nearly twelve hours on it, still resembles more of an outline than a draft) and a Chinese test on Saturday. Then, I have a bit of a breather, since my next and last test isn’t until six days afterwards.

I’ve felt that I’ve recited my finals exam schedule more than I’ve told people which school I transferred from. It’s convenient and relevant small talk that allows me to bask in the glory of only have two tests and a paper while other students are frantically finishing three essays all due on the same day. It’s also a phenomenon that’s ubiquitous among schools. I’ve found during both last fall’s reading period and this reading period, although I’ve experienced them at two different schools, students are constantly comparing schedules and subtly one-upping each other. It’d be amusing if we weren’t all tired from sleep deprivation.

So my point is this: wherever you go, reading and finals period is going to not be fun. There’s no way of avoiding them. But there are ways to alleviate the pain – the Midnight Organ Concert last night was fantastic, including performances by every a capella group on campus, some of which threw Twinkies down to the audience below! There are free pizza events at the Rock and the Sci Li (accompanied by aggressive college students casually elbowing each other for Dominos). And everyone is speculating when the Naked Donut Runners will make their appearance. More on that when–or if–I get a chance to see them!

Thanks for reading! Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me at wenbo_bai@brown.eduor leave a comment below!


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