Students of Color Perspectives: First Year Seminars



Hi there! I’m Laura Muñoz, a Freshman from Miami. I’m your Students of Color Perspectives blogger and I’ll write about what it means to be a proud (First-Gen, Feminist) Cubanita here at Brown (the best school on Earth).

Your freshman year at Brown you will have the opportunity to take a First Year Seminar (FYS) and you most definitely should!

First Year Seminars are available in all disciplines exclusively for first year students with a limit of 20 students per class. They meet once a week for two and half hours in a discussion based setting. FYS classes emphasize the exploration of a topic in-depth which means they inherently require a lot of reading and writing. I should emphasize here that there is so much reading. Be prepared to read more than you ever thought possible. But the readings will be interesting and worth it because you’ll be learning a lot about a topic you are genuinely interested in. Many, but not all, FYS classes also have a “WRIT” designation which means the class fulfills one of the two writing requirements necessary to graduate from Brown.

The best feature of FYS classes is the small-group setting, which allows for personalized attention from your professor (which is especially useful if the professor teaches for a department you are considering concentrating in). Professors choose to teach First Year Seminars, which means they are invested in working with freshmen and helping them progress throughout the semester gaining skills in preparation for future classes. And, because the class is only made up of twenty students you will inevitably get to know all your classmates by the end of the year which means it’s an excellent place to make new friends and bond over the two-hundred pages of reading you had to do for that week (trust me when I say nothing can bring a group of 18-year-olds together faster).  

FYS registration takes place the summer before Freshman year through a lottery, but just because you are unable to register for the course through the lottery does not mean you will not end up taking it. Always email the professor expressing interest so they can place you on the waiting list since other students are likely to drop the class during shopping period.

I believe First Year Seminars are crucial to the Freshman year experience and I think everyone should take at least one. Your FYS will be a class that forces you to look at topics from fresh perspectives, to read pieces you otherwise never would, and to write papers where you argue with conviction like a true scholar.

P.S. Right now I am enrolled in a History FYS called “Popular Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean” (which I love)! Next semester I will be taking an Education FYS called “New Faces, New Challenges: Immigrant Students in U.S. Schools” so if you have questions about either of those feel free to email me!


If you have any questions, comments, or just want to chat, please feel free to email me at (Seriously, do. I love talking about Brown. I’m obsessed with this place.) Gracias!


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