Brandeis welcomes midyears

January 18, 2019

Being a first-year in college is hard enough, but imagine beginning your first semester at Brandeis in January. While other first-years rejoice to see their friends after a long and restful break, you have to tackle adjusting to the freezing temperatures in New England, finding your classes in the maze that is the Brandeis campus and figuring out how the points versus meal swipe system works.

Although students may think beginning college after your peers have settled in is a scary task, in some ways, it is completely the opposite of that. First of all, most individuals on campus, whether they are first-years beginning their second semester or upperclassmen, are willing to help individuals in any way possible. Brandeis is full of friendly people who will always assist those in need. All you have to do is ask!

Additionally, in contrast to Orientation for first-years, which involves around 100 Orientation Leaders (OLs) for the many students beginning their semester in August, there are usually only around 20 midyear OLs since there are fewer midyear students. This creates a more intimate environment in which students feel closer to their peers and OLs. It allows for more personal relationships, in which people form bonds that sometimes last them all throughout college.

This year, the class of ’22 welcomed 110 midyear students. These students spent the first semester in various environments, such as working at Capitol Hill, traveling in Europe, volunteering in shelters or working at museums. Other individuals may have taken classes at colleges close to home, or they may have worked at jobs or internships. Some students may have made valuable friendships with other students, however, others may have been alone in their endeavors. Orientation gives these students the opportunity to meet others who are in a similar situation and not feel so alone as they transition to life at Brandeis. Bonds can form between these students which will allow for individuals to have a happier and more successful first few weeks at Brandeis. OL Sam Forman ’21 explained that “my favorite part of being a January OL is the opportunity to help out incoming students who are in a pretty unique position.”

Both first-year and midyear Orientations involve lots of energy, which is supplied by the wonderful OLs who spend a whole week training for the arrival of new students. Furthermore, these OLs conduct their tours in the freezing cold, which is even more impressive. Many of these OLs were previously midyears themselves, which allows them to provide the best possible advice to these incoming students.

Orientation is important, as individuals are transitioning into a new stage in their life. I am currently a first-year, and Orientation allowed me to meet people who were just as nervous as I was to adjust to a new environment and make friends. Through Orientation, I realized that college is not a scary place at all, in fact, it is quite the opposite. People are so kind and willing to go out of their way to help you in any way possible. I hope that midyear students have a similar experience and realize that college is a wonderful place where people learn and grow over the course of four years.

Lastly, Forman highlights that “I always stressed to my grouplets this semester, as well as my transfer students during fall Orientation, that there is no difference between them and fall, first-year admits. Everyone at Brandeis is a Brandeisian. I also hope they gained the resources necessary to tackle any difficult situations that arise during their Brandeis career.”

Hopefully midyear Orientation has provided the new students with the tools that will allow them to be successful in their first semester at Brandeis.

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