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After months of anticipation and dozens of premature posts on Spotted at Brown, this week marks the first when no one can deny that you are all in fact Brown University students. While we know that you are readying yourselves for Unit Wars, the midnight organ concert, and Wednesday at Fish Co., we want to welcome you by providing a few pieces of advice on the exciting year ahead.

For starters, take advantage of the smaller-sized classes that are geared towards you. A wide range of First Year Seminars are being offered, and many are fascinating enough to make seniors wish they could be '14s for a semester. Large lecture courses may be inevitable this first year, but try to balance your schedule with a class in which your absence would be noticed. Smaller seminars are a great way to get to know classmates with similar interests, become comfortable engaging in discussions, and form a relationship with a professor.  

Now, about getting to know professors — it can be difficult, so don't get discouraged if you go the entire year without being invited to a professor's house for a stimulating conversation over tea. Instead, keep an eye out for faculty members conducting research that interests you. Put those Facebook stalking skills to good use and peruse Brown's online research directory (research.brown.edu) to get ideas.

If you find approaching professors a bit intimidating, talk to some upperclassmen. Your Meiklejohn advisor or the Residential Peer Leaders in your dorm are great resources. And while making friends with your fellow freshmen will be your focus for the next few months, try to join a student group that allows you to connect with people in the classes above you (such as The Herald). Upperclassmen tend to have pretty clear hindsight, and they're usually not afraid to give their opinions — whether you want to know which section to take or who makes the best pizza on Thayer Street.

Studying might be one of the last things on your mind right now, with the Monday Night Fever orientation dance looming and your roommate hanging a Justin Bieber poster dangerously close to your side of the room. Still, it's a good idea to try out a bunch of study spots around campus. Various parts of the libraries, nearby coffee shops and hidden corners of other academic buildings all provide a choice of different atmospheres. "Studying" will mean many things to you as you ride out the ups and downs of a semester, so we recommend finding one spot that's more social, another that's good for quiet reading, and another still for, shall we say, impending deadlines.

When you're not planning out your study schedule, plan out your eating schedule. As you become more familiar with your gastronomic choices around here, you should also get to know your resources for sizing up daily offerings. There's always the Brown Dining Services website and the back page of the print edition of The Herald. We like to check out The Herald's blog (blogdailyherald.com), which weighs in daily on the epic Ratty vs. V-Dub question and also crucially provides the Free Food Digest. And if the thought of that wildebeest stampede that killed Mufasa in "The Lion King" still gives you nightmares, avoid going to the Ratty right at noon.

Exciting as these first few weeks can be, they can also be tough, but that's no reason to lose your bright-eyed enthusiasm. Brown's students are known as the happiest for countless reasons, and you're on the verge of discovering many of them for yourself.

Editorials are written by The Herald's editorial page board. Send comments to editorials (at) browndailyherald.com.


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