Brown Through the Eyes of a First-Year Student

Like many of you who may be reading this, I’m a freshman at Brown. Just a few weeks ago, I began the journey of moving in for my first semester on campus-- a milestone that fills each and every one of us with mixed emotions. Only for my fellow freshmen and me, the beginning of college looked very different from previous years. Masks, hand sanitizer, and dots lining the ground reading “six feet apart” greeted all of us as we waited to check in on day one. 

Online orientation was quite a unique experience. Days of webinars, Zoom calls, and meetings filled the time as we tried our best to adjust to our new environment. We also found new ways of connecting with each other since we couldn’t do so in person-- like making a squirrel that got into Pembroke 2 go viral on Instagram. I think we can all say that Quiet Period boredom got the best of us at one point or another, too. I for one found myself looking forward to Covid-19 testing just so that I could get some fresh air. 

But now that classes have started, our dynamic has started to shift a bit. All of us have transitioned from having nothing to do to our schedules being filled with Zoom classes and mailroom pick-up. I’m sure you’re all just as tired as I am from having to sit at a desk for most of the day. Some of us are settled on the classes we’re going to take, others are still trying out a bunch of new classes (like me). Either way, we all now find ourselves with the common mindset that our first full semester of college has truly begun.

I personally am looking forward to trying out new things now that our campus status has changed to Level 2. There are so many possibilities-- ordering food delivery from restaurants down Thayer Street, studying inside the Rock library, and playing Spikeball with my suitemates outside. And before too long, the number of possibilities open to us will continue to grow. 

While my mindset may seem too optimistic, I’ve found that keeping a positive attitude about starting our freshman year in the midst of a pandemic is one of the only things keeping me sane. Although none of us pictured starting college like this, we have to keep in mind that things will only get better from here. Not far from now, my hope is that all of us will be able to take classes in person, explore the city of Providence, and enjoy seeing someone smiling at you without it being behind a mask. In the future, I hope we can look at our current situation not as a negative experience, but as a memory of how strong we all are even given  the challenges we’ve had to endure. From my point of view, it takes courage for each one of us to take on a new challenge in life in the midst of these unprecedented times. 

My hope is that each and every one of you who reads this, whether a first-year student or not, will be able to take something positive from this year. Although none of us asked for this, it is important to take away from this situation any positives that we can. And to my fellow freshmen at Brown, while this semester may not be normal, I do hope that it is a good one. This year is certain to be one that we will never forget.