Welcome to The Economista! – a blog for those looking to successfully enjoy their time at Brown while on a budget. Learn new tips each week from freshman blogger Elliot Weiss as we embark on a journey of fiscal responsibility, free meals (yes – there is such a thing as a free lunch!), and plenty of inexpensive fun. Cheers!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a very interesting trend around campus. All around campus, I’ve seen group upon group of eager high school students alongside their equally (if not more) eager parents being led around campus by an enthusiastic, backwards walking Brown student. Now of course you can guess that I’m talking about tours around famous, but in the last 2 or 3 weeks, campus tours, visits, and prospective student outreach has really picked up. The reason: it’s April – meaning acceptances for the class of 2018 have been joyously delivered to nervous high school seniors (woohoo!), yet there’s still time to make the very important question as to which “Class of 2018” everyone wants to be a part of. So I figured, in honor of next year’s amazing incoming class, that I’d talk a bit this week about the decision to come to Brown.
At face value, a Brown education has many glaringly obvious upsides: attending a prestigious Ivy League university, learning under insanely smart and friendly professors, and meeting a ton of new and diverse people. Yet there are some, lesser discussed and not super well understood, reasons for attending a college that aren’t truly realized until one is actually a college student. So I’ll attempt to empower you, all of the ambivalent prefrosh across the country, with the vast knowledge and advice that I’ve acquired over my (almost) one full year at Brown.
It’s really really really (really) important to consider the people that you’ll be around for the next few years. By this I don’t just mean having classmates that will become some of your best friends. Being surrounded by people who are smart, friendly, sociable, well-rounded, ambitious (the list never ends) has made my experience at Brown absolutely amazing. From my cool, down-to-earth friends who are always happy to hangout with me, to my friendly and insanely cooperative (especially given that most classes are graded on a curve) classmates who will go out of their way to explain a difficult problem at 2 am, to the interesting and sometimes funny local citizens of Providence who I pass on the streets, it’s really nice to have good people around. So, when considering the “culture” or “feel” of a college campus, you should really look into what sorts of people you’ll be around for the next four years.
The size and location of Brown is, for me, perfect. I come from a public high school of about 2000 total students, so the jump to about 6000 here at Brown felt perfectly natural to me. I can walk from the main green (essentially the geographic center of campus) to any “edge” of campus in about 5 minutes (closer to 10 minutes if I talk a scenic route). Unlike other schools where students have to board buses to get from their rooms to class, I can leave my room 5 minutes before some of my classes start and still show up before the professor starts talking. In addition, Providence is a very cool place to live. Just a mile off campus in any direction, you’ll find a combination of nature trails, downtown areas, interesting little stores and bakeries, and the beautiful Providence River. The city of Providence itself isn’t too big, yet if offers a surprising amount of fun and interesting places to explore. If you are an open-minded, adventurous person, Providence is close to the perfect place to discover really new and unique sites, shops, and things to do for fun. Also, the city itself is fairly small, so there doesn’t seem to be too big of an issue with crime or safety when roaming around, even at night. As long as you keep your wits about you and use some common sense, Providence should never be a dangerous place.
The bottom line: Brown is an amazing place to go to school. Although it’s not the cheapest school in the country, it’s definitely worth the investment as long as you can afford the education or receive financial aid to come here. When prospective students ask me what my least favorite thing about Brown is, I usually have to think for a few minutes before replying: “well, the food in the dining halls can get a bit repetitive.” As far as issues or inconveniences go, there are a million things that could be worse about my time here. If you are lucky enough to attend a college like Brown, you should really think hard about how you want your college experience to take shape before making any big decisions. Good luck with your college decisions!
If you have any additional questions, comments, concerns, or mildly amusing jokes to tell, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Also, I always appreciate suggestions for future blog posts!