If you are in search of a romantic campus, consider applying to Brown.

Veterans begin their journey in higher education for different reasons. I can’t speak for every veteran, but if you are a veteran searching for a romantic campus, consider applying to Brown because no academic programs are more romantic than the open curriculum.

In a romantic relationship, we mature and learn about ourselves by inviting a stranger into our intimate space; understanding that two is ultimately better than one, we embrace inconvenience and step out of our comfort zone. In a similar manner, the open curriculum allows students to academically mature and learn about themselves in their undiscovered academic areas. However, students must embrace the temporary inconvenience of learning new skills and understand that seemingly risky academic adventures will ultimately benefit their academic careers. For this reason, I find Brown’s open curriculum romantic.

In this article, I’ll briefly introduce classes and explain how they allowed me and my peers to academically mature and gain exposure to new fields of study.

  • Why Don’t We Fall in Love?

By reading the course title, we can easily sense that this class is literally romantic. The course explores modern romantic relationships and looks at them through literary perspectives. The first assignment is to go out on a date and write an essay about the date. It hardly gets more romantic than this class.

  • Film Acting

Remember the classic movie “Ghost?” One of my assignments was to perform a romantic scene in the film. While it was fun to perform love scenes with my classmates, I learned valuable lessons beyond acting.

Like the course instructor said, “Don’t try to act when you act. Acting is about presenting your true self to the audience in a hypothetical situation.” Spending months performing in front of a group of students, I started to recognize that I subconsciously engage in certain physical movements and verbal patterns. Although meaningless words I habitually say and uncontrolled physical movements often left me in unpleasant places, until I closely analyze them as I learned about acting, they didn’t appear as problematic behavior.

  • Reimagining Capitalism

In this course, students discuss the controversial topics about capitalism that matter to our day-to-day life. They are encouraged to share their conclusion about capitalism incorporated with their personal experiences. Moreover, instructors constantly provide interesting resources to keep students engaged with the class materials. For instance, Bank of America’s CEO, Brian Moynihan, was a guest lecturer when the class discussed big business’s role in society. No other college offers an opportunity to discuss capitalism with one of the most influential leaders in the financial sector.

  • Intro to Programming

A few weeks into this course, I learned that this class was a mistake. This mistake confirmed that STEM isn’t my calling and was a truthful moment when I fully committed to International and Public Affairs concentration. Therefore, this mistake was a blessing in disguise. If I hadn’t miserably failed in this course, until this day, I’d think that I can easily learn to code and even make a career out of it. Even through mistakes, the open curriculum teaches valuable lessons to students.

  • Persuasive Communication

This is the most popular course at Brown. To explain, students can improve their public speaking skills and become effective communicators in this course. More importantly, this class can be a turning point for student veterans.

The course requires students to share about themselves extensively. I understand that many of us were encouraged not to be an oversharing veteran, but students can’t pass this course unless they compose 5–10-minute speeches about their experiences. I was stunned by my classmates’ and course instructors’ interest in my military career. If I had comfortably stayed in my concentration classes and didn’t make an effort to embrace the short-lived embarrassment of speaking in front of a large audience, I wouldn’t have had a chance to share about my military career with Brown community members.

Before I conclude this article, I must disclose a couple of other facts about Brown: Brown University doesn’t have the best financial aid package for veterans nor has the largest student veteran population. If the finance or connecting with student veterans on campus are your concerns, NSI can connect you with other campus representatives.

In hindsight, I’m grateful that other prestigious universities have rejected my application. I disagreed with the idea that college is more than earning a diploma until I was exposed to the open curriculum. While this article is too short to explain the open curriculum fully, I’m confident readers now understand what makes Brown such a special place– more importantly, why Brown is a romantic school.

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