Thursday, June 28, 2012

And He Banks It In

Just as usual, I woke up, showered, brushed my teeth, ate and headed off to class, where we learned about banks. I have been completely immersed in my morning routine for what feels like months, and still can't get over the fact that I will be leaving Brown just a week and a day from now. These have been a fun and productive couple of weeks, and I can't wait to finish this course strong, absorbing everything I can about Macroeconomics and college life. While I have learned a lot about everything I expected to learn about, from the economy to everything I could about different colleges and the application process, I have learned way more about myself than I had expected to.
Last year, when I had the privilege of going to Cornell thanks to the Ivy League Connection, I was so in awe of the alien world that was a college campus, that I got pretty caught up in the course (which isn't really a bad thing, enjoying classes tends to be useful) and before I had time to think about what was really happening and how I felt about the whole experience, it was already over. I know I never truly had a chance to appreciate that opportunity, because when I was asked to write a reflective blog about how the experience changed me, I completely drew a blank for a few days. I ended up realizing that I had matured and was more self-sufficient, but I didn't understand myself any better after the trip, which was my only regret about my time with the program. This year, I was determined to stop and smell the roses, and see if I could grow as a person during my time on the East Coast. While there hasn't been a major change, I finally think I have a better feel for understanding which colleges would be a good fit for me and which colleges wouldn't, and I've also surprised myself with my new found ability to (somewhat) learn in groups.
I have always been able to work with groups, for group projects and the like, but when it comes to actually understanding the course material, I always preferred reading through a textbook myself if I didn't understand a teacher's initial lesson on the subject. With a course like Macroeconomics, a subject I knew nothing about, that strategy probably wouldn't have worked too well for me, so I was relieved when I learned that the Macro ILCers were meeting at the Rock to try to figure out the homework. I was always used to these sorts of homework sessions ending up with varying individuals actually understanding the problem, and having to explain it to everyone else, only to not understand the next problem and have to rely on someone else to explain it to them. While this is useful as far as finishing a homework assignment goes, it isn't too helpful in the actually understanding the material side, since regurgitating what your friend told you isn't quite the same as knowing what you're talking about. I was pleasantly surprised to learn at our first session that when everyone has a decent grasp on the concepts, we could all bounce ideas about how to solve the problem off of each other, and when we finally figured out a problem, it was because we, not one person, had figured out the problem. It was great getting to see that everyone could learn in a group, and that has been immensely helpful in getting me through Macroeconomics so far. 
While I still don't have a full-blown checklist for what I want or don't want in a school, I now understand what people mean when they say the get the "feeling" that a college is right for them. I got the feeling as soon as I stepped on MIT's campus, which is a bit unfortunate since it seems all but impossible to get into. I thoroughly enjoyed Dartmouth and Yale, and had a better idea of what schools would be a good fit for me, because even if they weren't my absolute dream school, I could picture myself being successful at those colleges. I didn't much like Wesleyan due to size, and I am surprised to say that I can't quite see myself at Brown. I expected to love Brown, and don't get me wrong it's a gorgeous campus and a great school, but I have sort of a reverse "feeling" whenever I picture myself going here. I don't dislike Brown, but I feel like I could talk myself into wanting to attend this university, only to realize on the first day that it wasn't the right school for me. I am so relieved that it is possible for me to start to distinguish between the schools I will fit in at and those I won't, and am grateful to the ILC for giving me this opportunity to learn both inside the classroom and out. 

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