Recently, post- Magazine did a six-part series entitled "Stuff Brown Students Like." Gmail, celebrity children, spandex, Nice Slice, shopping period and even ‘spicy with' were all on the list, and rightly so. To their credit, post- was spot-on, and I hope they continue the series.
While Brown students (myself included) definitely do like Gmail and Nice Slice's thin crust pizza, there is an even longer (and cooler) list of things Brown students should like.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Elitism should be on the top of the list. While many "hip" and "progressive" Brown students take solace in the fact that they are defying some sort of abstract social conventions by rebuking age-old Ivy League traditions, they do so from an Ivy League platform. Respect for natural elites is something that can do Brown students well, especially in difficult economic times.
Second, Brown students ought to like Wall Street. While there are a good number of students who pursue financial jobs, especially those related to management consulting, many Brown students grimace at the idea of working at an investment bank, equating the job to a soulless, greedy endeavor which apparently does little to solve problems that are far more prescient, like "going green."
Sadly, while these individuals mean well, they are gravely misinformed. Wall Street careers separate the strong from the weak and ultimately require the skills that Brown students often exude while at school: a strong desire to learn and a love for working with others.
In a similar vein, Brown students ought to like capitalism more. Since I have come to Brown, I have met more Marxist, socialist and communist sympathizers than I have ever thought possible. While this has been a valuable learning experience, we must realize that the market needs Brown students to one day create growth opportunities which will benefit society as a whole. By consistently deriding the free market, characterizing capitalism as "evil" and vying for more misinformed government intervention and regulation, Brown students are only limiting their future opportunities for success.
Fashionably speaking, Brown students ought to like J. Crew more. For those with fatter wallets, classy yet simple selections from couture designers ought to be liked as well. While not all Brown students are guilty of scoffing at madras shirts, plaid patterns, Nantucket red, argyle designs, Dolce and Gabbana and Ralph Lauren, it is clear that there is an agenda against the clean-cut look these aforementioned items would imply.
Many Brown students are comfortable wearing very tight ripped jeans, dirty T-shirts, farmer plaid and other hipster-esque forms of clothing. While this is not the worst possible scenario, and there certainly should not be any standard on what Brown students are expected to wear, it would be nice to have an atmosphere of appreciation, rather than militant resistance, toward refined clothing. Either way, J. Crew gives a 15 percent student discount.
Lastly, Brown students ought to like the Wall Street Journal and DrudgeReport.com. While most Brown students seem fascinated by the New York Times and CNN.com, both of which are satisfactory news sources, it might not hurt to check out the Journal and Drudge once in a while. The professionalism exhibited in the Journal, along with the excellent quality of their opinions section, the heavily researched features sections and the highly important market updates all make it an excellent news source (and one which should be in the Ratty, ahem).
Further, while everyone loves Sanjay Gupta, CNN.com's "cool" approach to news simply does not cut it for me. Drudge lays it all out in his easy-to-read web format, and does a good job of finding unique but reliable news sources for his stories. Plus, the pictures on his Web site are truly classic. Many Brown students pride themselves on being extremely well informed in matters of public affairs; if so, then why the aversion to these news sources?
It is difficult to say which of the aforementioned items are most important, especially when I am sure the list could be elongated to a far greater degree. Ultimately, while Brown is a beautiful place, there is room for great improvement. I truly feel that with a small change in direction, Brown students could not only extract more value out of their undergraduate years, but they will be positioned well for future success.
Anish K. Mitra '10 is an economics concentrator from Queens, New York. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.