Chris Brown is a Miscellany News alum who graduated in 2016 with a double major in Political Science and Mathematics. Less than a year out, Chris is living in California starting his first year at Berkeley Law School. Chris shares the challenges and highlights he’s facing in this stage of his life.
Q: What are you up to now, and how do you like doing it?
A: I’m currently a first-year student at Berkeley Law School. I like law school, although it’s definitely not easy. It’s a lot more work than I’m used to at Vassar, and I really need to work hard to stay on top of it. But the material and the people are all really interesting and incredibly smart. I have a lot to learn from them. I always knew from a young age that I was interested in law and the reasons why rules are the way they are. During my last year at Vassar, it just felt like the right thing to do to apply to law school and pursue a career in law.
Q: What impact do you think Vassar has had on your life, and on your career now?
A: Vassar changed my life so much. A lot of people here at law school have more experience than me from past jobs they had after school. But I think one place where I’m finding I have the advantage over some other people is the ability to approach a problem critically and thoughtfully and with a full understanding of what’s going on. A lot of my political science and theory classes at Vassar focused on learning not only how to solve a problem, but address why it’s a problem, how did we get here, and what are the alternatives. I thank Vassar and my professors so much for giving me the ability to have a deep understanding of the meaning of everything happening around me.
Q: What were you involved with on campus while you were a student?
A: Do we have enough room to answer this question? Haha I was perpetually over-involved at Vassar. I was on The Miscellany News for 3 years and an editor for 2. I was the (final!) Vice President for Student Life during my senior year. I worked in Residential Life for 2 years, as a student fellow and then as a House Student Advisor for Jewett. I was a Q Center Tutor and SI Leader for 2 years. And of course, I was a proud and loving member to Beauty and the Beats, the only Disney a cappella group at Vassar, and dare I say the most attractive a cappella group in town.
Q: Can you name one of your favorite memories on campus?
A: Tough one, there are a lot. Some of my favorite memories are from last year, sitting on the back step of my TH with some of my closest friends. I really made an effort to spend senior year enjoying the people I was around and having deep and meaningful conversations. There was nothing like sitting outside on a warm spring day, or under a full moon late at night, and just enjoying the company of other people. It’s those moments where you are truly able to get the most out of the college experience, at least in my opinion.
Q: Do you think you’ll come to your next reunion?
A: Well seeing as though I just graduated, I have a couple of years to figure that out! I’m not sure where I’ll be in five years, but if everything falls into place, then I would love to come back to Vassar for the reunion. It’ll be fun to see what everyone has been up to and where everyone’s lives have gone. And I’ll definitely be visiting Vassar a few times between now and then!
Q: In what ways have you stayed connected to Vassar?
A: I still have a lot of friends who are students at Vassar, and I do my best to stay in contact with them. I also have tried to keep in contact with some of the professors and administration that I was lucky enough to work closely with during my time in school. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in law school so far, it’s all about who you know!
Q: What plans to you have for the future of your life and career?
A: Well I don’t like to predict to future; the unpredictability makes it exciting. I’ve got three years of school left before I start some kind of job. As of now, I’m probably going to be doing some work in the technology private sector on intellectual property rights through a big firm, making some money to pay back loans. But again, I really won’t know for another year or so what path I’ll be on immediately after law school.
Q: What advice would you give to current Vassar students?
A: I don’t want this answer to come off as don’t study and don’t worry about grades because you should. But be able to put things into perspective. The reality of the situation, which still makes me a little sad today, is that you have a limited time at this sort of secluded world called Vassar. You’re going to meet people that could change your life. You might fall in love, you might get your heart broken, you might discover something about yourself that you never knew was inside of you. Take time to stop and listen to yourself and everything around you. You don’t want to get to the end of your senior year and realize you sent all of your time studying alone or doing work in order to get a marginal advantage for whatever path you want to take after Vassar. I will always remember Vassar as the place where I met the best friends of my life and made memories I will never forget. And trust me, I’m not sure any of them happened in a classroom. So do something stupid with your friends, get off campus with people if you can, and take mental snapshots of those moments where you feel nothing but overwhelming happiness and love.