The Bear Necessities: Finding Your Voice


Hi there Brunonians! My name is Michelle Zabat, a friendly first-year from marvelous Michigan. From fitness to food to fun ways to feel your best, The Bear Necessities is here to give you the inside scoop on staying healthy and happy here at Brown. 

The most important thing that I’ve discovered during my first year at Brown is also the thing that’s probably hardest to accept about college: life gets hard. I had a mentor hypothesize that even though these are supposed to be “the best four years of your life,” freshman year can be one of the hardest. Although I’ve had a wonderful freshman year experience, I can personally vouch that yes–things do get tough sometimes! Luckily, Brown offers lots of administrative resources to help you get whatever things are stressing you off your chest. But beyond that, there are steps you can take to let your voice be heard. Here’s how I did it.

For me, the most important aspect of keeping stress at a healthy level and feeling comfortable with current situations is having an outlet to vent to. Whether that be about classes, friends, or problems at home, being able to speak my mind is hugely important. Professors, Deans, CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services), and other authority figures around campus are wonderful places to find this outlet. However, this semester, I was able to speak my mind–literally–as a result of my decision to join Brown’s Archipelag-a.

Made up of women from Brown’s Filipino Alliance, Archipelag-a (a play off of the geographic archipelago that constitutes the Philippines) is a spoken word group that performs both on and off of campus. In fact, this past weekend, we were in Boston performing at the closing ceremony of a big conference, which was amazing! On one hand, spoken word is amazing for me because I get the chance to voice my beliefs and concerns (it seems kind of anonymous, since you’re not personally speaking to anyone in the audience, but it’s also kind of empowering, because you’re technically sharing your thoughts with an entire room of listeners!). But on the other hand, it has also provided me a safe, comfortable community of friends to which I can look for support and encouragement. It’s made a huge difference for me this semester.

My experience with Archi is only one of many possible stories that can emerge here at Brown. With so many student groups to choose from, you’re almost guaranteed to find your niche. It might take you some time to find it, but once you do, I guarantee that it will make all the difference.


Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Just want to chat? Send me an email at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s