From Albania to Zimbabwe: This Year At Brown, I…

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No matter where you are in the world, From Albania to Zimbabwe is the right place to find out about international happenings at Brown University! Hi, I’m Celina Stewart, a sophomore concentrating in International Relations here at Brown, and this is my space to give you updates and info about all things international at Brown, including international student life, international speakers, and different clubs and activities with an international focus. Read along and explore everything international at Brown! 

For my final post of the year, I wanted to recount opportunities, experiences, and defining moments of this year at Brown. Not only will this give you an idea of how hectic a year can be, it will help you to understand what a year at Brown looks like. These are just my experiences- ask anyone else, and phe will likely have entirely different stories to tell. It’s all part of that great diversity that makes Brown students so compelling.

This year at Brown, I…

  • Went off meal plan 
  • Had my first experience with gender neutral housing- and enjoyed it!
  • Learned to ski with the Brown Outdoors Club in Vermont
  • Took a selfie with President Paxson during the 250+ celebration
  • Completed 3 seminar level classes- and survived
  • Declared my first concentration
  • Took 4 WRIT classes in one semester- it’s possible
  • Had one horrible on-campus, commissioned job, and will never trust Seventeen Magazine‘s advice again
  • Visited friends at other Ivy League schools, and realized that I’m content with where I am
  • Bought a Spring Weekend tee, and won a second one at Carnival
  • TA’ed for the first time, and had a blast
  • Applied to study abroad, but decided not to go
  • Learned to play euchre, Munchkin, and Mario Party
  • Survived Econ 110
  • Became an officially licensed bartender
  • Made several friends by watching the Olympics every night in the basement
  • Wore out my combat boots, but (fortunately) my snow boots arrived in late March
  • Made an illuminated manuscript as a final project, rather than completing a research paper
  • Became comfortable taking courses and participating in activities because I find them interesting and enriching, rather than sticking to concentration requirements and popular classes
  • Made and re-made, and cried over, laughed about, and perfected my first official resumé

Thus far at Brown, I have:

  • In four semesters, taken courses in Anthropology, History, Political Science, Music, Russian, Computer Science, Hispanic Studies, Sociology, Economics, and Religious Studies. 
  • Lived far from campus, and in the center of campus
  • Tried to learn Russian, Arabic and Sanskrit, but ended up sticking with Spanish
  • Participated in a variety of different clubs and activities, and whittled down those I care about continuing
  • Felt very alone, but also worked hard to replace that feeling with inclusion
  • Traveled! New York, Boston, Hanover, Princeton, Philadelphia, Newport, Cranston, Bristol, Central Falls, Washington, DC, and even  downtown Providence, not to mention international travel with study abroad!

This year at Brown, I learned:

  • That although I may not always agree with the loudest voices on campus, I appreciate the insight they’ve given me into my beliefs, values, and experiences. 
  • That there are many ways of showing support (and opposition), and that some of these ways are much more effective than others.
  • That I will never be the most brilliant, accomplished, engaging, or interesting person on campus, but that does not mean that my thoughts are inadequate, unimportant, irrelevant, or diminished.
  • That creativity applies to looking for opportunities, networking, and even extracurriculars. It take’s more than interest and ability to be successful, and many people with stronger resumés don’t look in the right places when doing these searches.
  • That being unhappy or unsatisfied doesn’t mean that I haven’t been learning. Campus has been especially political during my time here, beginning with the administration change, through the Divest Coal campaign, the Ray Kelly demonstrations, discussions regarding Israel/Palestine relations, and continuing with the ongoing sexual assault awareness campaign sweeping schools across the country. At times I have felt ostracized, silenced, ignored, misrepresented, guilty; however, I have also felt thankful, lucky, and supportive. I’ve learned that those negative feelings drove me to understand why I felt that way, and I realized some truths about my identity that I likely would never had explored had those ideas not been made aware to me. Further, many of these issues and ideals would not have crossed my mind, and I appreciate awareness.
  • That being afraid to ask questions results in confusion, rather than answers.

I hope you all have safe, fun, and productive summers. Brown describes itself as a “vibrant, diverse community,” and I have to agree. Keep your minds open, and no matter where you’re coming from, you’ll find a home at Brown University.

Have  questions or comments? Feel free to email me at celina_stewart@brown.edu and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Or, if you’d rather, just comment on the blog! 

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