Hello! My name is Vlad, and I am a Junior at Brown from St. Louis, Missouri and one of the original founders of Design@Brown. I am interested in finding the ideal combination of art and technology as it is applied in the engineering realm. I believe that products must not only be functional, impactful, & revolutionary in their capabilities, but also aesthetically beautiful, triggering some kind of emotion from the person who perceives it.
Truth be told, how I got here today is a rather complicated story. Initially, I came to Brown wanting to study the full-fat Sc.B. in Mechanical Engineering, believing that that degree is what would help me best achieve my goals of becoming an Automotive Designer (I am, indeed, a car freak). However, I quickly learned that the Sc.B. degree in Engineering simply wasn't for me. I felt like I was studying solely physics and incredibly difficult math, and the entire Design aspect that I loved so much about Engineering was completely absent from my education (and would continue to be absent until deep into my Undergraduate Career).
I discussed my qualms with my Engineering advisor at the time, who encouraged me to stick with the Sc.B. in Engineering, and to simply take some of those VISA classes on the side. He told me that if I wanted to study Design, I should have gone to RISD. Yet, I was certain that I could get the exact education that I wanted with the current offering of classes that Brown had and continue has to offer. This concentration just didn't exist yet. So, I made it my mission to do just so.
Starting my sophomore year, I began my dive into creating my own Independent Concentration in Product Design, piecing together the classes from Brown's Course Catalogue that would help me achieve my educational goals. After many months of working with the CRC (as this wasn't by any means an easy process), I finally had my Design Concentration approved. I decided to pair this with the A.B. in Engineering, as I still wanted to experience some of the more Science-Heavy Engineering... I just didn't want to ONLY be studying this aspect of Engineering. As such, I believe that by double concentrating in both Engineering and Product Design, I have created myself my ideal education: learning both about the technology realm that impassions me, but also the aspect of Design that I so craved to study in my undergraduate career.
go with your gut
From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted to do some kind of Independent Concentration in Design... and I put it off much longer than I would've hoped because I was advised against it; instead, I tried to stick down a path that, after a single semester, I realized wasn't for me. There is nothing wrong with change, and at the end of the day, you know yourself better than anyone else does. If you know that you want to do something, DO IT! Your happiness comes first, and if you don't do what best for yourself, you'll end up disappointing only yourself.
explore classes of different interests
Especially if it is your freshman or sophomore year, explore classes that are of your interest... even if they don't match up with your requirements for your major. That's why you chose Brown in the first place, right? So do it. If you're an Engineer who loves History, screw that extra requirement and take that History class. Are you studying CS, but want to take an English class? Take It! You have 4 years here, and you will graduate with a degree (most likely on time). Take advantage of the Open Curriculum, and grow in areas outside of just what your concentration offers.
you will o.k. in the end
Many of us get here feeling overwhelmed by the huge adjustment that coming to college at Brown brings. Suddenly all your classmates are brilliant, suddenly your life isn't as perfectly planned out as you may think... and suddenly you have to do your own LAUNDRY! Jokes aside, coming to college and expecting everything to be perfect from the get-go is deeply unrealistic. You wouldn't grow at all as an individual if this were the case. It's ok to make mistakes, it's ok to no longer have a perfect 4.0 GPA, its fine to join a club, realize its not for you, and dip on it. For me, college is all about finding happiness, finding what it is that your passionate about, growing, making mistakes, and finding perfection within the imperfect. You will be o.k. in the end... if you're not o.k., then I guess it's not the end quite yet!