My first quarter experience and impression of Brown University in the era of Covid. Brown U and ROTC pt.3 –Griffin
A new college perspective after some mid-term results and another round of exams just next week, a trip to a military base to relearn some marching basics, and stolen markers. I got a lot to unpack and tell you about since the last time I posted.
I am taking 5 classes: Chem 100, Calc 3, The Art of International Relations(HMAN), Animal Behavior(ANM BHV), and AFROTC. HMAN and ANM BHV do not have midterms which is awesome and the AFROTC midterm was very straight forward. I really only had Chem 100 and Calc 3 to prepare for and take a few weeks ago. The Chem is not graded yet but I am fairly confident on it, however, I did not do well on the Calc 3 midterm. This really freaked me out two weeks ago because I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the content and then I bombed the exam. It was a real eye-opener on the difference of intensity of studying I am used to and what is required to maintain a high GPA at Brown. Covid has made everything really strange. While there are opportunities to go to office hours and attend sections with TAs I don’t have an informal study group as I did in Highschool. In my experience, it seems like I don’t know what I don’t know. Previously with a study group while you did problems you might have explained a problem to a friend, which may lead you to ask more questions and further your understanding of a topic. With no way to really “study” with a group, I have nearly completely lost this. I am currently attending sections and consulting a Calc group chat to make up for this loss but it is hard to tell if it completely compensates. There is another exam next week and of course because of the last exam result there is a lot of pressure to performs well so I will be quite busy with calculus through the next 7 days.
Of course, studying has to work around ROTC, as they are paying for school. A few weeks ago my detachment got the opportunity to go to Ft. Devens a nearby army base to learn some basic drill. The covid guidelines were followed, always outside and masked 6 ft apart. Once we got there and settled in somewhat they dropped the bomb on us; an Army drill sergeant was going to be teaching us. We were to call him Master Sergeant and nothing else. It was intense. We performed above his expectations the entire time which eased the tension as he had nothing to directly attack. By the end, we were singing jodis while performing near perfect column movements. It was actually a really fun time by the end, I got to meet some of my classmates from WPI and other crosstown schools.
We have only met the other freshman from WPI twice I believe and for the most part, the Brown Freshman are nearly completely isolated from all other students. We are in a very unique situation and don’t know anyone from previous years so we have all somewhat come together. I made the fine purchase a few weeks ago of a whiteboard for our floors common room. Our group of freshman use it almost exclusively, so we use it to write jokes or pranks on each other. Currently, we are making funny tinder profiles of each other on the whiteboard with our horrible artistic skills. The whiteboard just makes the common room and the floor overall feel a little homier. I leave out the markers for people to add to whatever we are doing. However recently someone has not only stolen few colored markers but drew over and screwed with things we had drawn. This was very lame, to say the least. We are currently thinking of ways to catch this culprit as our drawings our deface consistently through the week. The current top idea is to get a spy cam and record for a couple of days and watch what happens when we aren’t in there.
Overall there isn’t a lot of time for messing around on the whiteboard or in general. A lot of time goes to studying, hence why I haven’t posted since September. However, nearly everything takes a back seat to academics. It is a lot of work and a hard transition to virtual college work. While no one here is pumped for Halloween, I am. I got my Cowboy hat and boots coming in the mail. It’s such an easy costume: boots, hat, button-down shirt, and jeans. I think everyone else is dressing up in at least something simple, but I honestly don’t know. Of course, there are no parties or anything of the like, so maybe we will hang out outside or socially distance in the common room.
I also wanted to recommend The Arctic Monkeys and Cage the Elephant as my current favorites while doing work. –Griffin