An Interview On
Brown University

Background

Interview Date:April 2018

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Graduation Year: 2018
High School Experience: Private school in the greater Providence area with a graduating class of about 90 students.
Concentration: Economics
Extracurricular Activities: I am on the Club Basketball team. I’m in a fraternity. I am part of Brown Investment Club and Brown Students in Real Estate. I’m also part of a Peer Mentorship Program where you’re assigned to a group of 7-8 freshmen and paired with a faculty member to help them through the course registration process and any issues that arise freshman year.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
The Peer Mentorship Program probably had the most impact on me just because I was able to help people transition to Brown because there are so many options and so many different paths you can go.

Academic Experience

What is your weekly coursework for your major like?
Early on as an underclassman, it’s primarily problem sets. Now I’m in some seminars where it’s a lot more reading and some research papers and things like that.

Is there anything that you feel your department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think the professors are really good and they do a good job of explaining the material. I think the professors have a lot of experience in academia, but I think they could offer more course options at the higher level, possibly more courses that are applicable professionally. I know it’s a liberal arts school and there’s no real big finance major, but it’d be nice to have some more finance related courses and bring in professors with real-world experience. My favorite professor from my corporate finance class had been in the private sector for a long time and I think that adds credibility when you’re teaching a course like that.

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s very, very collaborative. Everybody’s always happy to help. In many classes, you have to submit your homework in groups, which really fosters collaboration. Overall, it’s a very collaborative environment and I’ve never heard of anyone not willing to help somebody else.

Why did you choose Economics?
One thing I liked about Economics was that there weren’t a lot of requirements. It’s only 11 courses. So, since there’s no core curriculum at Brown, meaning that I can take any classes outside my major with the exception of two writing courses, it allowed me to explore a lot of other disciplines. And I also wanted to build my quantitative analysis skill set, which fit well into economics.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Double in Archibald [in Keeney Quad]
Sophomore: Double in Goddard House
Junior: Off-campus apartment with 2 roommates
Senior: Off-campus house with 4 roommates

What was your favorite living situation?
My favorite was this year and sophomore year.

Can you describe the level of safety on campus and around campus?
I feel very safe on campus. I’ve never had any safety issues nor have any of my close friends. I think the main streets are well lit. Obviously, you don’t want to be walking alone late at night, but I think Providence is a pretty safe city and the parts where students are traveling the most are safe. I could be biased though because I am from here. [Providence’s overall crime rate is 39% higher than the national average.]

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
East Side Pockets on Thayer Street.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
India Point Park. If I go on runs there’s a river right near there. It’s nice when the weather is nice, and it has a great view of the city.

Pros and cons of being in Providence, RI?
Pros: 1) Because of its proximity to Johnson and Wales, which is a culinary institution, there are really great restaurants and there are always new restaurants popping up.
2) You don’t have to travel far for things. Like there’s a sporting goods store, there’s a mall, a hospital. So, there are a lot of amenities nearby.
3) Transportation is really easy. I can take the train to Boston. The airports nearby so I can fly in and out.

Cons: Weather. It’s April right now and I’m looking out the window and it’s snowing.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Brown?
There are a lot of house parties that I go to. The house I live in tends to throw a lot, so it’s okay to stay home because people always filter through my house. I also go downtown to bars and clubs. Most of the bars have 18+ entry as well as 21+. I’d say I go out every Friday and Saturday unless I’m not feeling well or I have something early the next morning, and as much as I can on Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, everybody goes to a bar in Providence. As you get older people go to the Grad Center Bar (GCB). It’s kind of like a dive bar that students like to go to as more of a casual, hanging out kind of place.

Do freshmen boys have trouble getting into parties?
Not really, if you go at the right time. If you show up when it’s still kind of just getting going and you don’t know anyone there you’ll stick out. But once the party is going you can find one on campus. As more of the social scene since I was a freshman has moved off campus, I’m not sure if that’s changed at all or if it’s slightly more difficult just because people tend to crowd parties and then wait outside and linger and then sometimes the police are called if there’s a noise complaint. I know some groups have tried to restrict a little more so there isn’t overcrowding like that, so I don’t know if it’s gotten a little more difficult. When I was a freshman I was always able to find something to do on a Friday or Saturday night.

How happy are you with Brown’s nightlife? Is there anything you would change?
I’m very happy with the nightlife that Brown has. I think as an upperclassman I now realize that it’s kind of up to us to create certain experiences for people, so it’s a little more pressure in terms of if we’re not going to throw the party, who’s going to? I guess I wish I had a bigger school where there probably isn’t that pressure. I would say I wish there were more local college bars, Whiskey [Republic] is really the best option we have. You visit other schools and there is a strip of college bars. So, if I could add one thing I’d like more college bars that, if nothing’s going on, you could show up and bump into a bunch of people opposed to having to coordinate and make an event.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Some of my closest friends lived on my floor freshman year. And then I started playing pick-up basketball and just doing other activities that I was interested in. That’s where I think I met a lot of my closest friends. And I think in classes as well. I met some friends in classes along the way.

How would you describe the social scene?
I think inclusive is the best word. I know when I’ve visited friends at other schools they’ll say, “Oh, you can’t go to that party because that’s this fraternity or sorority and we don’t know them.” I think Brown is really inclusive and, even if they don’t know you, pretty inclusive and accepting.

What is the impact of Greek life at Brown?
What I think is unique at Brown is that Greek life is not overwhelming. It’s not something you have to do. But for me, it is a nice way to have an immediate social group of people with similar interests and who like to go out and stuff. I’ve met my closest friends through Greek life. But, you know all our parties and all Greek life parties aren’t exclusive. Anybody can attend those parties, so it doesn’t restrict you from interacting with friends you made before joining Greek life. It just kind of gives you a social structure.

Do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
To some degree. I think it could be mixed more. I think you walk in the dining hall and you see a big mixture, but if you look at peoples’ friend groups it’s probably not as mixed as it should be. I think it’s probably better than a lot of schools, but I think it could be improved.

Do people seem happy with their choice of Brown by the time they graduate?
Yeah, I think so. There’s a lot of school pride, which is not always reflected in terms of athletics, but I think people are proud of the brand to go here and happy with their experience. I mean you’re always going to complain about different things but I think we’re pretty lucky and overall, I think my friends are happy with that choice.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yes, I’d say the alumni network was crucial for me in finding internships and jobs. Everyone I emailed or talked to has been more than happy to speak with me and connect me to other people and it really helped in landing a job.

Have you learned any computer programs that have been or will be helpful to you professionally?
I took a computer science class, but I’m not going into coding. In my corporate finance class and one other class I refined my Excel skills and that’s going to be helpful.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Brown before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew how quickly it would go by. I feel like I’ve done a lot and tried a lot of things but you look back and there’s always more. I wish I had joined more clubs, taken more classes outside of my comfort zone, and attended more concerts and events and things like that. I’m running out of time here and wish that I did more.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
There’s a late-night dining hall called Josiah’s. Especially on the weekends, it’s really packed from midnight to 1AM, and a lot of people are intoxicated with their friends. It’s sloppy and messy but I think it’s kind of fun to see everyone with their friend groups. You can see the diverse group of people that are there, and that, like no matter what party you went to, everybody ends up at Josiah’s eating fried food late night.

Reasons to attend Brown:
1) Open curriculum
2) It’s one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the USA
3) It is a diverse student body

Reasons to not attend Brown:
1) It doesn’t have the same sports culture as some schools.
2) It doesn’t have warm weather.
3) There are not a lot of pre-professional offerings. There isn’t a real estate program or a finance program or things like that.

Notice: Brown University is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Brown University.

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