I am very excited to share that I have been accepted to Brown University and will begin taking classes on September 5th in Providence, Rhode Island. I am honored to be enrolled at such a prestigious school, and I believe that Brown will help me develop the skills necessary to transition into the next phase of my life.
I will begin my postsecondary studies from the very beginning with no transferred credits, and I plan to spend four years completing my undergraduate degree. At the start of school, I will be 29 years old (after my birthday on August 1st).
Specifically, I was accepted, along with 12 other students, to Brown’s Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) Program. The RUE program is designed for older, non-traditional students. To be eligible to apply, students must be out of high school for six or more years and cannot have more than two years of full-time college experience. As a RUE student, I will take the same classes and earn the same degree as other Brown students. The application deadline for the RUE program was March 1st. The deadline for traditional students was January 1st. The additional two months to complete the RUE application allowed me to work on it at my convenience without disrupting my preparations for the Olympics. In addition, the RUE application did not require SAT or ACT standardized test scores. This was important to me because my ACT scores from 2006 had expired. Lastly, as a RUE student I am not required to live on campus, and I will work with an advisor dedicated specifically to the RUE undergraduate population.
I do not know what exactly I will study at Brown. Eventually I want to work to change public policy to address social justice issues including income, wealth and opportunity inequity. Therefore, I am interested in studying public policy, economics and law. I also want to develop my public speaking and communications skills, and I want to continue to grow the marketing skills that I learned as a professional skier. I am grateful to be starting college as a freshman because I will have the opportunity to take courses in many different subject areas to help me choose my eventual degree path. Fittingly, Brown is known for their ‘Open Curriculum’ which gives students responsibility for the direction of their learning.
Along with my acceptance, Brown awarded me a huge need-based financial aid package. The cost of attending Brown for the 2018-19 academic year is $61,097. This price includes student health insurance, books and supplies, and an academic records fee; it excludes room and board and personal expenses. To cover this cost, I was awarded a Federal Pell Grant totaling $3,470 and a Brown University Scholarship totaling $53,234. Consequently, my cost for the 2018-19 school year will be $4,393 + room and board and personal expenses. I am eligible for this huge scholarship because I am over the age of 24 (and therefore financially independent from my parents) and because I only made $9,206 in 2017 (after deducting skiing business expenses).
To cover my remaining expenses, I have a 529 College Savings Account totaling $68,282.16 that was funded by my parents and both sets of my grandparents. Also, I have started working for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) doing presentations to athletes. I hope to continue this well-paying work throughout my time at school.
I am very aware of my privilege; it is a motivating force in my life. I am a straight, cisgender, able-bodied, healthy, white male from a strong nuclear family who was raised upper-middle class in one of the most affluent communities in the richest country in the history of human civilization (Aspen, Colorado). Subsequently I have lived in Sun Valley, Idaho, Hanover, New Hampshire and Park City, Utah, all of which are amongst the most affluent communities in the world. I have never been discriminated against. I am an embodiment of privilege.
Now, I am moving from a successful career as a professional cross-country skier and two-time Olympian straight to an Ivy League education. I am both grateful for and uneasy about my opportunities. My privilege makes me feel a sense of guilt and shame, but more than anything it instills in me a drive to close opportunity gaps.
Thank you for supporting me in the first chapter of my journey. I hope that you will stay with me through this next installment. I will do my best to share my story. When the time comes, I hope that you will join me in creating lasting, positive and deliberate change.