"Brown... That's, like, a good school, right?"
After four amazing years on College Hill, I'm always happy to answer questions about my experience at Brown, whether it's during alumni interviews of high school applicants or while talking with other grad students at the University of St. Andrews this year. But what never ceases to amaze me are the questions that come up:
"Brown... You guys don't get grades, right?"
"Brown... So are you a hippie or something?"
Or my personal favorite, "Brown... That's up by Portland, right?" (This was asked of me when I was back home in Oregon.)
There are, of course, many people who are familiar with Brown's reputation for strong academics and an encouraging learning environment. But at first, I got stuck on the question of whether it's a "good school" (or any one of its variants, whether it's an Ivy, whether it's one of the best colleges, etc.). I don't know about your experience, but this is the single most common question I've been asked. A "no" in response was out of the question. A "yes" seemed snobby and didn't encompass the wonderful time I had as an undergraduate. After all, not only did I take away some of the most challenging and rewarding intellectual experiences of my life, but from ADOCH to Campus Dance, I've always been impressed by the people in the community at Brown. (In fact, I loved the people so much that I will celebrate not only our 5th reunion this summer but my 5th year of marriage with David Gomel '06 as well. We recently moved to Chicago, so if you're ever in the area, please get in touch!) My best friends are fellow Brunonians and some of the people I am most proud of knowing. Just reading through this blog is inspiring! I also can't ignore that a degree from Brown helped me get a great job in San Francisco at a government transparency software company and into a Master's program in Peace and Conflict Studies this year.
So I finally settled on an answer that reflects what I most want people to know about Brown:
"I loved every minute of it."