On August 26, 2012, I hugged my mom and younger sister one last time while my dad prepared the car for their departure. I managed to compose myself by the time Elana, my OL, came to pick me up for the barbeque. I was awkward and naive, sporting a frizzy ponytail and a tee shirt with an owl that said nerds are hot. Elana was spunky and confident and I never imagined that one year later, I’d be doing her job. I never imagined I would do a lot of things that I’ve done over the past four years, or how profoundly I would change as a person.
People like to ask, what’s your favorite part about Brandeis? I could say the academics—I absolutely adore my major in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and could use the remainder of this space to reflect on my coursework and my thesis. I could say my campus jobs—I’m currently a CA in the Village on a floor of wonderful residents and I also work at the Office of Prevention Services (OPS), doing sexual assault prevention education and community outreach. I could say the Rape Crisis Center (RCC), something on which I worked closely last year. I could say the C-Store, whose candy has fueled my sweet tooth and sucked up my points since my first week here. And really, all of these things have been incredibly significant to my Brandeis experience. But I don’t say any of this when asked. I say that my favorite part about Brandeis is the people.
As cheesy as it sounds, I truly believe the people on this campus have enriched my life and have brought meaning to all of my endeavors. The professors and my classmates in the WMGS department have challenged me to reevaluate the way in which I see the world and how I am positioned in it. I have grown into my feminism through our discussions in and out of the classroom. My coworkers at the RCC and OPS have inspired me with their deep commitment to institutional change. And it wouldn’t be possible for me to reflect on my time at Brandeis without giving a shout-out to my mentor, Dr. Sheila McMahon, who has supported me in countless ways. She is a huge reason why I am pursuing my master’s in social work in the fall.
Brandeis has not only brought amazing colleagues, but also incredible friends into my life, from DPhiE to DCL. I feel like it would be trite to say I met my bridesmaids, especially because the wedding industrial complex is kinda gross. But I developed friendships built on lifelong unconditional love. These women are strong, passionate, kind and regularly astound me with their brilliance. We’ve supported one another through some pretty hellish times and have also made some fantastic memories. I write this with a few people in mind, but want to mention by initial J, J and Z, who have been my guiding light even after they graduated in 2015.
In my time at Brandeis, I have openly spoken out against the administration and am not blind to the flaws of this institution. But my criticisms and gratitude are not mutually exclusive. I have learned and laughed and loved so deeply within this community. Because of my time at this school, I am not the same girl Elana picked up for the BBQ in 2012 (although the frizzy ponytail has yet to go). I will deeply miss the professors, staff members and friends who have put me on the path to loving myself and pursuing my dreams. Thank you to The Hoot for giving me the chance to say goodbye in writing.