A Fresh View: First Impressions

Hi everyone! My name is Jee Won Diane Kang and I’ll be your correspondent for A Fresh View this year. This column will chronicle some of my experiences as a freshman at Brown, and will include the highs and lows of that incredible journey.

When it’s only been a month into school and there are already midterms

Welcome to A Fresh View!

My name is Jee Won Diane Kang and I am a freshman at Brown, planning on concentrating in English and something else (maybe public policy…??) I think that tells you one of the most important things about Brown: not knowing what you want to do is super, super common.

I’ve met a lot of people here in the first month and already there is such a wide range of interests and varying levels of certainty about those interests in essentially all of the freshmen and even in a lot of the upperclassmen that I’ve interacted with. I still feel really panicked and scared about a lot of things, but it’s nice to know that mostly, everyone else is in the same boat. Sure, we all come from different places and have different backgrounds, but we’re all here now, together, and that’s what really matters.

The first month back has gone by in a hazy blur, so I’d like to take this time to reflect on some of the highlights of these first couple of weeks. More below the jump!

First and foremost, orientation feels like it was years ago. Seriously, it goes by so quickly. Cherish every moment of the remaining remnants of no real responsibility while you still can because university level courses are going to come at you and hit you like a ton of bricks. Orientation is fun and exciting, and you get to meet lots and lots of new people (so many people that I can guarantee that you will not be able to remember everyone that you meet), but it can also be quite overwhelming. I know that it was for me. So always take time out of the day to check in with yourself and how you’re doing so that you can be healthy, safe, and happy. Don’t want to burn about before the real hard work begins.

Speaking of which, university classes so far have been a mixed bag for me. I decided to take Introduction to Creative Nonfiction, Math 0100, Historical Crime Fiction, and Free Speech after registration and shopping period. What is shopping period, you ask? Shopping period is a two-week window in which students are allowed to go to any class that they’re interested in taking and “shop” it. Essentially, you will register for 4-5 classes during pre-registration, but that doesn’t mean that you’re limited to only taking those classes! You’re welcome to shop a variety of courses, so I highly recommend poking around Courses @ Brown and looking at your options, because there are really so many. You never know what classes you shop are going to be your favorite, so don’t be afraid to give everything a chance. Just make sure you end up registering for 4 classes at the end of it all 🙂

Once school starts in full swing, life can move really quickly. Midterms and papers will be upon you before you know it, and you might find that the clubs and extracurriculars that were so easy to maintain just a few weeks ago have become unmanageable. Don’t be afraid to drop things here and there and take care of yourself. Your health and wellbeing comes before everything else, and besides: everyone is in the same boat as you are, and everyone is super understanding about the difficulties of balancing academics with extracurriculars.

If life ever becomes too overwhelming, there are a wealth of resources on campus that you can turn to. Utilize as many as you feel you need!

My first month has definitely been a whirlwind of excitement and uncertainty, but it certainly hasn’t been boring. I’ve met some amazing people and already had some life changing experiences. I can only hope that my time at Brown continues to be so influential.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments! You can reach me at jee_won_kang@brown.edu.


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