PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In a Principles of Economics course at Brown University, Liliana King and Charlotte Scott learned about the concept of opportunity cost.
“It’s what must be given up to obtain something else,” King explained. “Economically, the riskier the choice, the higher the [potential] payoff.”
In Fall 2020, the pair — both double-concentrators in economics and history — bet big on the decision to step away from Brown for a semester. King went to her hometown of Pittsburgh to run marketing operations for a chain of ice cream stores, and Scott traveled to her native London to research bonds at a new investment group. The opportunity cost: a semester away from some of their closest friends, a prolonged college journey…and a December graduation date.
Their risks paid big dividends in the end: King and Scott are among 235 Brown students who are on track to complete their bachelor’s degree requirements at the end of 2022. On Saturday, Dec. 3, the two students jointly addressed their fellow soon-to-be graduates and others from the Brown community at a Midyear Completion Celebration on College Hill.
Each year, the celebration provides an opportunity for Brown’s “.5ers” — a nickname given to students who complete degree requirements in December — to look back on their off-the-beaten-path academic journeys. Some of them arrived mid-study as transfer students from other institutions; others took time off to work, volunteer or pursue creative projects; still others left temporarily to address health or academic issues. But, Scott noted, here they were today — on the precipice of graduation, having become stronger and more multi-dimensional people after traveling in unusual directions.
“What is the opportunity cost of a leave of absence, of choosing to be different?” Scott asked. “We chose to step outside the box. It paid off: The Class of ‘22.5 had the opportunity to organize political campaigns and create our own startups. We fished for salmon in Alaska and trained to be professional athletes.”