The Question: Why Did I Go To Brown?

Homecoming2012

Curious about every day life at Brown?  The Question aims to answer all the questions you have and didn’t know you had about Brown!  Here you get to read about everything from study spaces to Spring Weekend from a student’s point of view.  Follow sophomore Hannah Liu as she brings you The Answer each week.

Since this is my last post, I want to end this semester of The Question the way that I end my tours and answer the question: why did I go to Brown?

The college decision is a tough one, but there was one experience that really convinced me to come to Brown.  I was unable to come to any designated visiting days, so I came to stay with a friend of mine who was a freshman at Brown.  That night, after I had visited several classes and hung out on the Main Green for a while, I headed back to her room.  I passed a room with an open door, and there were six or seven students standing around and talking about their classes and important world events.  I was so impressed that the students were engaged and passionate about their work and the world around them that they would stay up late talking about it even after all their work was done.  That is one wonderful aspect of the Brunonian personality, and I knew it was the right environment for me.

That said, once I got to Brown, I realized why the students are that way.  I believe that Brown students are able to be passionate and engaged and happy because of the Open (or New) Curriculum.  You may have heard about the open curriculum.  It is, in my opinion, one of the greatest aspects of Brown.  The students that succeed at Brown are the ones who are able to be proactive and responsible for their own education, and take advantage of the Open Curriculum.

Before I came to Brown, I thought that the Open Curriculum would be great because I would not have to take any classes I didn’t want to take.  That has turned out to be a great perk, but it’s not the best thing.  The Open Curriculum is great because nobody else has to take any thing they don’t want to take.  That means that everybody in your classes wants to be there, and is engaged and excited to learn.  Everybody wants to participate in class and do the work and work together.  That means that the atmosphere here is very collaborative and cheerful – because we’re only doing things that we want to do, and we’re doing them together!

As I said, students really enjoy collaborating with each other because they are passionate about what they do and like to interact with other students who are passionate about similar things. I have never encountered or heard of any competition for grades.  There is no grade regulation here, so there is no need to compete. We really enjoy learning from each other; the focus is definitely on learning and not on grades.

I sometimes get asked what I would change about Brown if I could change anything.  I would suggest that college be half as expensive so that I could go for twice as long!  College is an amazing experience, and Brown is one of the best schools around for so many diverse reasons.

It has been a pleasure writing for you all this semester.  Congratulations to those of you who already know where you will be next year; good luck to those of you who still don’t know yet!  Even though this blog is over for the semester, I still encourage you to contact me with any of your questions (big or small) – I am always happy to answer!  Have a warm winter break and a happy New Year!

What are some questions that you have about Brown?  Is there anything specific that you would like to read about in The Question?  Please email me at hannah_liu@brown.edu with any suggestions, comments, questions, or concerns!

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