University News

Both seasoned and new start afresh

Staff Writer
Friday, January 27, 2012

The Main Green bustled with activity the first days of classes, as scenes of students hurrying to class, throwing frisbees in the uncharacteristically warm weather and catching up with friends signalled a return to the familiar rhythms of University life. But for mid-year transfers beginning their Brown careers and seniors returning for the last time, the beginning of the semester took on added importance.

When transfer student Katie Yates ’14 arrived on campus early for squash pre-season, campus was much calmer.

“It was nice getting to know campus when it was quiet,” she said. 

The lull did not last. As a new student at Brown, the sudden arrival of students was a bit overwhelming, Yates said.

For most students, Wednesday marked the beginning of yet another semester, complete with shopping period, long lines at the Sharpe Refectory and trips down Thayer Street. But transfers are taking it in for the first time. 

“I can’t believe I’m actually here,” Yates said. Yates took a semester off in the fall and said she has been counting down the days before she would arrive on campus. 

“After thinking for so long about it in such an abstract sense, to be experiencing Brown is really cool,” she said.

Yates, who transferred from Middlebury College,  is still adjusting to life at Brown. She said the mid-year transfer orientation helped acclimate her to the Brown community. Now ready to dive into her first semester on College Hill, Yates said she is both excited and nervous.

“Students have come from pretty prescribed curricula at their colleges and universities, and high schools before that,” wrote Besenia Rodriguez, associate dean of the college for research and upperclass studies, and Maitrayee Bhattacharyya, associate dean of the college for diversity programs, in an email to The Herald. “Brown’s open curriculum can take some getting used to, and some transfers say that they don’t know where to begin in terms of narrowing down their list of courses to just (four).” 

Robin Rolader ’14, a mid-year transfer student from Colgate University, prepared herself for a bit of a transition period. After months of anticipation since her acceptance last May, “it was weird to finally arrive on campus and get things started.”

“Everyone seems really welcoming and accommodating so far,” she said. Now, she is looking forward to the activities fair where she hopes to get involved in the campus arts scene through dance and a cappella.

For other students, this week represented the beginning of the end. Jordan Mainzer ‘12.5 eagerly awaits his final year on campus. “While you want to wrap things up mentally … at the same time you feel like you haven’t been here for that long,” he said. 

Like many seniors, Mainzer is designing a somewhat unconventional schedule for this semester. He has decided to finish his concentration requirements next semester. “This semester I am going to try to expand my horizons … by moving on to subject matters with which I have zero familiarity.” 

Mainzer has decided to take all his classes outside of his concentration, and he will take them all S/NC.

Jared Davis ’13, who recently returned from a semester abroad at the University of Edinburgh, said he now felt differently about coming back to campus than he had in years past. 

“You think about coming back the whole time when you’re abroad, so definitely it’s a bit more surreal when you get back here,” he said. 

Returning for the first time, Hunter Massad ’15 said he is excited to fall back into last semester’s routine. He said he definitely feels more relaxed than at the start of his first semester. “I have friends here already and it’s great to see them,” he said. “I’m just nervous for my classes.”

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