I came into Brown thinking I could take whatever I want for four years and then graduate. I was like, “Oh, I might as well go crazy.” I took a full year of Egyptian Hieroglyphics when I was a freshman, that’s a fun fact. And I had a big moment of realizing, “Oh no, I can’t. I have to concentrate in something.” And I felt betrayed and lied to. But then turns out you can get around that.
Because I was taking Arabic, I naturally fell into a path towards Middle East Studies, which at the end of sophomore year was what I declared. Junior fall I shopped the required classes and I was like, “Wow, this is terrible.” I had a mid-college crisis. At first I was like, “Oh, I’ll just suck it up.” And then I was kind of like, “Well, I didn’t come to college to take classes I don’t want to take and just suffer through them.”
So I went to the Curricular Resource Center and cried to the person there. I was like, “Please save me. Let me do an Independent Concentration.” I showed them my classes, and they were like, “I see some common threads. Storytelling seems like one of them.” And I was like, “Okay cool, I can work with that.” So I just wrote up a really quick 18-page Independent Concentration proposal for Storytelling and submitted it on the last possible deadline. They sent it back and they were like, “This needs major revisions.” So I reworked it and resubmitted it four times over six months.
I have taken 28 classes in 21 departments. If anything, it’s been really great for me because it’s meant I’ve had a variety of homework, and I feel like it’s better for my brain to do different ways of thinking. I’ve been in several upper-level seminars in which I had not taken any of the lower-level classes, and I was 100 percent okay.
The advice I always give to people is to make the same mistake that I have made, which is to take the classes that you want to take. You can deal with the possible consequences later.
Who Cares About S/NC?
All my classes are S/NC in my head. I never change my grade option to S/NC or not S/NC because I don’t care what grade I get as long as I’m passing all my classes. I hadn’t checked my grades until last semester when I had to because I needed a transcript to include in my Fulbright application. My parents were always like, “What grades did you get?” And I was like, “I don’t know. I passed,
isn’t that enough?”
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