This is where I spent the night Friday and Saturday. The campground was 25 miles from campus.
And here was my “room”. I didn’t have enough money to stay in a hotel, so I brought my tent; turned out to be the best idea of the entire trip.
The photo on the top was sunset. Grandparents watching their grandchildren take a evening dip in the lake. When I arrived at the campground I took a seat by the lake and watched families fish. I hit the hay early so I’d be ready to rock and roll in class the following morning.
The photo on the bottom was sunrise Friday morning. The lake sat still while I did my morning prayers…suffice to say I was loving every second of it. Again, camping was a great idea. But, the campground didn’t have showers and it was way too cold to bathe in the lake that morning (I considered it).
I needed to shower and shave before class, so I went to the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center on campus. I went to the person at the front desk and said, “My name is Brad, I’m here for the day from Atlanta and need to take a shower. Is that possible?” They were so nice and accommodating. I used the visitors locker room and was ready to go!
Now this is where things got really fun. I spent the entire day in class and got to meet students and faculty. I also was encouraged to participate in case studies, which I did (how could I not?). I loved it! It was awesome to be back in school; especially with my new friends. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was exceptional.
I also got to meet privately with Jay Flannigan – Assistant Dean of the school I’m applying to. Talk about a class act. I really enjoyed getting to know him. And get this – upon hearing of my meager travel budget, he gave me a Brown University tote and said I could fill it with snacks and bottled water. To which I did and that was what I ate on the ride home.
Class wrapped up around 5:00pm. I was invited to a party at a local hotel afterwards. The students had been in Providence for two weeks of intense study, so this event was to let loose and enjoy a few cocktails before everyone went home the following day. I got to meet a ton of students from previous years and everyone was so helpful.
I don’t know any other way of saying it – Brown is home. I loved EVERY second I was there. After the party I made the 25 mile trek back to the campground.
I woke up the following morning and watched the sunrise in Rhode Island and eventually watched it set in the Carolina’s. I hit the road with the intention of camping halfway between Providence and Atlanta, but I missed my family too much, so I drove 1,063 miles in 16 hours (see photo above from my car).
All told I drove over 2,200 miles in four days (three days of driving). I visited 13 states (South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Georgia) and Washington D.C., crossed the Mason-Dixon line twice, and did it on a shoe string budget (to say the least).
I was encouraged to apply for the 2016 class at Brown. And to me, it was a dream come true. I’ve been working on this for two years. It started with cold calling people who were enrolled in the program, developing relationships with them, attending an event when Brown was in Atlanta (I can’t begin to describe how nervous I was…after all, this IS the Ivy League), getting to know administrators at the University through phone calls and tons of emails, and finally asking if I could attend class (and knowing good and damn well I didn’t have the resources to actually get there if they said yes).
I’ll be submitting my application shortly. Hopefully I receive an acceptance letter in the next month or two.
From the beginning this was about honoring my brother and making a difference in our country’s healthcare system. I intend to do both and God willing with the help of Brown.
Anything is possible…and I mean ANYTHING is possible when you want it bad enough.
Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)