A Fresh View: Parting Words

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.

Hello everyone, for the last time!

I’m so sad to be leaving you all, but indeed the year has come to a close, and what an amazing year it was. So much has happened, and as I furiously attempt to go out on a high note with finishing all my papers and projects and studying for exams, I’d like to take some time to look back on the year and share some things that I’ve learned.

  1. Your first year is shorter than you think it is.
    • It’s a bittersweet feeling, and it can make you feel like you don’t have enough time to do things. I assure you that you absolute have enough time to experiment with new experiences, and there is no better time to do so. But don’t be disappointed in yourself if you don’t get to address everything that you wanted to, or that if you find that you didn’t do something. You have three more years.
  2. You will most definitely get sick at least once.
    • This doesn’t apply if you’re my best friend who has an immune system made of steel… notgoodbut for the rest of us mortals, being under a lot of stress in a new environment and surrounded by so many living bodies all the time makes illness unavoidable. Being sick is the worst, so be nice to yourself when it happens.
  3. Be nice to yourself in all things.
    • You have limitations. Learn those limits and accept them and love them. In case you were wondering, taking five classes and working a job and finding time for extracurriculars is not being nice to yourself.
  4. Do not compare yourself to others.
    • Falling in vein with number three, but if you want to be nice to yourself never giphylook at what other people are doing and use it as a metric for where you should be. Everyone is different and has different histories. There are complex dynamics at play that have placed them in a different position than you. And it’s often difficult to remember that when you start comparing yourself to other people. Focusing on yourself and how you’re doing is the most important thing.
  5. Being alone is not the same thing as being lonely.
    • Sometimes you will want and need alone time, and that doesn’t mean that you’re antisocial. It can be draining to be around a lot of people all the time, so give yourself time to recharge. Even if you get along really well with your roommates, sometimes you need to be completely alone. Find a nice place somewhere you can feel at peace.
  6. Not all of college is a giant rave.
    • Contrary to depictions in media, college isn’t one giant party to everyone all the time. 6361461297648276831544800338_anna-kendrick-staying-homeHave as much as you want, but it’s also okay if you’re not really into that scene. The important thing to remember is to be safe and comfortable. If you ever are not, have an out.
  7. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not.
    • Being exposed to lots of different new people will inevitably make you want to fit in among them, but save yourself the heartache and trouble and don’t try to force yourself to become someone you’re not. This sort of relates to understanding your limitations, but your first year is a great time to do some soul-searching and understand yourself and who you are. There are things that you like and things you don’t like. Be honest about those things.
  8. The food isn’t bad, but it can get old.
    • You will miss the food you get at home. There are tons of options on campus, but they don’t change things up as often as you’d like, but you’re bound to find something that you like. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up somewhere with a decent kitchen, but don’t count on it.
  9. Naps are wonderful things.
    • qbizhzmTaking a nap is an invigorating and often necessary thing, but don’t abuse their power. Getting  good night’s sleep and having a regular sleep schedule is super important and I cannot emphasize enough how crappy lack of sleep feels. So get some quality shut-eye so you don’t end up a crazy person.
  10. At the end of the day, you decide what your first year is going to be about.
    • This sounds weird coming from someone writing what has amounted to a life tips column, but your first year is all about what you want it to be. There is incredible flexibility in things that you can explore, whether it be fascinating extracurriculars or interesting classes or new relationships. As cheesy as it sounds, your first year is about what you make of it, so do with it what you will.

I have loved coming on this incredible journey with you all, and I’m going to miss writing about my first year because I will no longer be one in a few weeks! It’s been a crazy time filled with highs and lows, but I can honestly say that I’ve loved my first year at Brown, and I cannot wait to see what the remaining three years have in store for me. For the future class of 2021 at Brown as well in the greater world, I hope that my experiences have been useful to read about and (hopefully) slightly entertaining. Always feel free to reach out to me, and I hope that I’ll still be around on the blog next year, even as I hand the reigns of this column to someone new.


Again, it’s been a pleasure, and I wish you all the very best! For the final time, that’s all from me this week ❤

This week (but also this year) in listening: “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. Fun fact: this song was my class song in high school when I was a senior!

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


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