For our Community Narrative this week, we interviewed Jai’el Toussaint (he/him/his), a sophomore from Massachusetts concentrating in Africana Studies. Read more below:

How are you? How’s your year going so far?
This year is interesting in that freshman year was hard but fun. This is one of the first years I’m concretely thinking of my future, what classes I want to take, what activities I want to be in. I’m building on stuff that existed freshman year but every day is interesting. I’m really grateful for all the friendships and bonds that I’m forming. I have a really strong friend group and support group there. I’m really happy building on that. Good, but tired.

What community at Brown has been influential in making it feel more like a home?
I think my community and a strong friend network. While I love my clubs, there’s no club where I’m like oh this is everything. I love them all but I just really admire and appreciate my friends. They’ve been there for me through good and bad days, seen me at my best and worst. I’m really happy for the friends I’ve made here and how instrumental they’ve been in helping me develop as a person.

One of your favorite memories at Brown?
During the winter of freshman year, our class coordinating board had organized an ice skating event. I had never been, literally didn’t know how to, and all my friends were like come on do it. I singed up and got a position. We all went. It was really wholesome in that I pushed myself out of a boundary I had. I was able to have fun. I didn’t fall. Also a plus in that moment was thinking these are all your friends, these are the people that love and care for you, and people who are going to push you to grow.

Advice you’d give your freshman year self?
First and foremost, take the time for yourself. It’s okay to not do everything perfect or get everything done right away. You want to space out your things and plan accordingly, but also make sure you’re taking care of yourself and getting proper sleep and nutrition. 

Who are you away from Brown?
A real family person. I would say I deeply care for members of my family. My mom and I have a really close bond. When I go home for the summer, my mom and I would watch movies or get a quick food or meal. I really like that.