*Note: This post is about yesterday's events.
I felt like a child staring into Narnia when I first peered through Soldier’s Arch into Lincoln Field. What I saw was a statue of a man sitting majestically on top of a horse in the middle of a green sloping lawn surrounded by brick buildings and pink blooming trees.
This wasn’t one of those stunning, powerful, hits-you-in-the-face moments. It was much subtler, softer. The combination of long, flowing bloom-filled branches and the little carvings in the stone arch was magical.
Such were my first thoughts upon stepping onto campus.
After venturing in, I met with my host Irene Rajos-Carroll and then went to go grab lunch on Thayer Street with my dad before heading back onto campus for the ADOCH STEM events. (Thayer Street reminded me of a cleaner version of Berkeley, and that kind of ruined the magical vibe for me, just because it seemed too normal and familiar.)
I first went to an informational breakout session for the Engineering Department, where my dad and I toured the general engineering workshop area. I was disappointed by how outdated most of the equipment was and generally found this tour to be rather lackluster, except for the parts where Professor Kenny Breuer, who was super friendly and accessible, talked about the projects he and his students were working on. The project he spent the most time talking about was also the most interesting, and it was one on bat flight. I got to see the containment area where they test the bats’ flight in different environments (underwater, in a wind tunnel, etc.). Unfortunately, the bats weren’t there at the time, so I didn’t get to see them. I also attended a student panel about research as part of the STEM program.
At this point, I was starting to get excited about Brown, but I wasn't nearly as excited as I had expected or had hoped to be. I certainly couldn't see myself at Brown yet.
After walking around campus with my dad for a bit, I said goodbye and went to attend the barbeque ADOCH had planned for the pre-frosh. I sat on the grass with some girls I met in the food line, and we ate and talked and laughed and took pictures with Brown’s mascot Bruno.
We then walked to the opening ceremony, where we were greeted with an enthusiastic “Welcome, Brown Class of 2016!” followed by an enthusiastic roar of applause. I really took a good look around and thought Wow, we all went through the same process. We all made it! This sounds a lot cornier than it felt, and this event ended with a hilarious student-made video about pop culture references to Brown and various reasons why we should attend Brown.
The two questions constantly asked and answered among the pre-frosh during ADOCH were “Are you committed to Brown?” and “Where else are you considering?” I came to ADOCH knowing that I would basically choose between Brown and Harvard. Ever since I decided that these two would be the universities I would choose between, I’ve been having “Brown days” and “Harvard days.” When I arrived at Brown, I had been having “Harvard days,” but after the ADOCH welcoming, I was more or less a jumbled mess again.
The rest of the night was spent bonding with new people I seemed to be meeting every 10 minutes. We went to a talent show, followed by an ice cream social, a comedy/improv show, a Queer Alliance social, and The Block Party. The performances at the talent and comedy/improv shows were funny, entertaining, and inspiring. They really were inspiring. The dancers were so into their dancing, and the emcees of the night were funny and made me want to be like them. The improv group that performed was brilliant, and I started finding myself really wanting to become a part of this environment where everyone seemed to genuinely love doing what they were doing.
I still wasn't sure about where to go, I hadn't gotten "the feeling" that supposedly helps people decide where to go to college, but I was definitely enjoying myself. I went to bed in my comfy sleeping bag both exhausted and excited.