Wednesday, August 5, 2015

An Amazing Two Weeks at Brown

Our Cohort Excited to Leave for Brown 
My trip to brown was an amazing learning experience. It definitely exceeded  my expectations.  The Women and Leadership taught me so much about the struggles that women and other oppressed groups faced today. We dug deep into the reasons behind these struggles to learn how to be conscious and eventually work towards socially reconstructing society.

Thinking back to boarding the plane for Brown more than two weeks ago I realize how much narrower my knowledge of the world was. Not only did I learn so much through my class but through my peers who face different struggles than me because of the communities that they come from. Living in the Bay Area I am lucky to be surrounded by a lot of liberal open people. Others who came from other places around the United States and the world do not have this luxury.

On the first day of class I was nervous to be in a room full of powerful motivated students. I became even more nervous when I realized that all of my fellow classmates knew far more than me about issues of gender equality. Looking back on this now I realize that I had nothing to fear. The classroom environment was so open and through readings and discussions I was able to feel comfortable and learn so much in the class.

Goodbye to Providence 
Week One of the program was a whirlwind. It became normal to go to bed at one in the morning and wake up at seven thirty. From the first day I was constantly busy. I would leave for breakfast then go straight to class, straight to lunch, back to class, and then I would do homework and socialize with my classmates until it was time for a workshop or dinner. Even though it was so hectic and chaotic I loved it. There was always something for me to be doing and learning. I had so many revelations about the world around me and would often leave class in awe because I learned about topics that I had never even considered in everyday life. These discussions didn’t end in class but lasted into the afternoons hanging out in the main green with my peers.

As Friday night of the first week hit I realized that this pace wasn’t sustainable. I just wasn’t getting enough sleep and taking care of myself. I began running and trying to get my work done earlier so that I could get more sleep and relax in the evenings. This strategy worked well. Saturday and Sunday I was able to get a lot of work done as well as have fun.

Returning Home Changed by our Amazing Brown Experience 
Week Two was a lot more relaxing because I was able to finish my action plan early. Early in week two I was able to determine whom I wanted to hang out with and who made me feel good. This helped me be able to be social but not be overwhelmed by constant social stimulus. I began to make really close friends. I had less homework so I was able to spend time going on adventures with people and learning more about there everyday lives. Meanwhile, the entire Women and Leadership class was getting amazing preparation for our action plan speeches. Mary Grace and Tory, the most amazing teacher and TA, helped us through every single step. By the time Friday came along I was so prepared to give my presentation but not prepared to leave.

Although I was excited to see my family and friends at home I was sad to be leaving the incredible learning environment that I had found at Brown. Friday was a bittersweet day but I certainly didn’t leave the program empty handed. I came home with so much knowledge of the world around me, an action plan to implement, and a better understanding of what I want in a college.

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