Hello all ILC members, I hope that for you seniors, your application process went smoothly and I am sure you will all be admitted to just the right places. My name is Andrew Gonzales and I am currently a freshman at Brown University. My ILC experiences were at Cornell University taking part in the Freedom and Justice class and Brown University where I learned about the many nuances of Macroeconomics.
My first semester at Brown was almost indescribable because of the many great things I learned, experienced and became a part of, but I will try my best to let you in on a vicarious ride of this great first semester. For starters Brown's motto for the educational path of each student is for you to be the "architect of your education." This basically means that you truly design and build your education the way you see best fit or most interesting. Brown has no general education requirements, so you can truly take a wide breadth of classes that are of great interest to you. Because of that I took Sports in American history, Introduction to International Politics, How to Manage Industrial and Non-Profit Organizations and finally Campaigns and Elections. As you can see I have a wide range of classes and I can confidently say they were all very interesting. I would have to say that my Campaigns and Elections and my Business Management classes were my favorites. The Campaigns class was very interesting and stimulating because it took place in the midst of election season. The Business class was very fascinating because of the highly acclaimed guest lecturers that spoke to us. Some of them included the founders of the popular Nantucket Nectars drink, Senior Vice President of Ralph Lauren Polo, and executives of the Nordstrom's company (All of which were not only Brown graduates, but had taken the same class that I was taking with the same professor).
Coming in to Brown I thought I might not be fully equipped to handle the rigorous work. But, I can truly say that with persistent and relentless hard work (and prayer I must say) I was able to perform very well in all of my classes. This is just an encouragement for you all, do not be afraid of the rigors of college. You all have many of the necessary tools you will need to succeed and I am sure that many other tools will be developed upon the duration of your time in college.
I feel that I have developed or enhanced many tools since being at Brown. One for sure is the notion of independent drive. In high school you constantly have those around you, be they your parents, peers, or school faculty trying to push you to do your very best. But because in college I have truly been my "own man" it has really allowed me to develop a stronger independent motivation and drive. It has allowed me to see that in the real world you must spark and ignite your own engine if you ever want to get anywhere.
While at Brown I have joined three clubs so far, the Black Student Union, the Christian Branch fellowship and finally the GSA Brown Debate team. All of these groups have played a very intricate role in me being acclimated to college life. I was able to gain new friends, many of who were older and shared valuable experience with me. I would advise that everyone at least check out one club in college because it allows you to truly network with a group of people otherwise you probably would not have had contact with and it is good to talk to people about the college experience and different things you may be going through. Also clubs serve as a good way to be proactive in the college community. I believe I really learned that all of these were very important while I was in the ILC. Going to meet with admissions readers and other very important people was a great outlet and networking opportunity. Being involved in clubs can serve as this same networking benefit.
Also while at Brown I had time for some leisure activities. My friends and I played intramural basketball and football and this was really fun. It was great to just get out and go play, to not have to worry about your upcoming midterm and to be able to build comaraderie with friends. For me playing sports and getting regular exercise was very important in order to keep me well balanced.
Overall my time at Brown was truly great. I am really excited for the upcoming semester and the remainder of my years. I can imagine that some of you have applied to Brown and I wish you the best of luck. If any of you would like to talk about Brown more, or college related I would be more than happy to do so. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care all and best of luck!