Hello prospective students, confused current students, and lost surfers of the web. Welcome to Wise Fools, where I address the ins and outs of being a sophomore at Brown University. My name is Justin Ferenzi, and I’m here to help shine some light on the intricacies of a student’s second year.
When you are a freshman, Brown requires you to be on one of their meal plans. This is, ostensibly, a measure to ensure that first-years do not forget to eat and starve in their confusion. However, once you are an upperclassman, it is up to you whether or not to remain on meal plan. So, what’ll it be? Blue room or bagged food?
The first and most important thing to consider is that, with proper budgeting and a willingness to walk, going off meal plan tends to be cheaper than being on the plan. It’s a nice chunk to remove from your tuition payments. Also, Brown tends to inflate its prices pretty ridiculously—the Califia Cold Brews sold at Jo’s are twice the price of the ones at East Side Mini-Mart.
There is, however, the issue of convenience. Places like the Ratty and V-Dub offer all you can eat, and really, if you wanted to, you could bring some tupperware and fill up for the next few days. If accessibility is an issue for you, the meal plan is probably a good bet. Also, if you’re an athlete or someone who just tends to need to eat a lot, the meal plan is probably a safe choice for you as well.
Also, everywhere that isn’t the Ratty or V-Dub takes cash, so you won’t be missing out on pho, falafel, or friends who are on the meal plan.
As you descend through the ranks of the meal plans, from 20 meals/week or Flex 460 down to the cheaper options, you lose a lot of the bang for your buck. If you’re considering dropping to the lowest or second-lowest plan, you might want to look into going off plan.
Overall, you have to be honest with yourself about how much you eat, how much you’re willing or able to spend, and whether taking the long walk to Whole Foods or East Side Marketplace is something you’d be up for. And, no matter what, you’ll always be able to buy a Blue Room muffin.
When Justin Ferenzi isn’t blogging, he’s obsessively refreshing his email account for blogging-related correspondence. For any and all questions about life at Brown, don’t hesitate to send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo from http://www.notey.com/@spoonuniversity_unofficial/external/4179810/a-guide-to-picking-the-perfect-blue-room-muffin.html)