I have written for The Brandeis Hoot for well over two years now, and have been an editor for nearly two. I’ve edited this section for a year and a half. But as time moves on, so must I to begin a new journey in my academic career: my semester abroad.
In late January 2017, I will be leaving the United States and beginning my studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands with the Brandeis-led program there. The home stretch at the end of each semester leading into finals week and break has always been difficult for me, but I’m finding this one especially so, thanks to the time I will not be on this campus.
There are many things I love about this university, but none more than the community—the Brandeis family. I cannot overstate the value to my life of the many friends, peers and mentors that I’ve come to know here. The goodbyes will be bittersweet. While I will see most everyone again in August, there is a possibility that I will never see my many to-be-graduating senior friends again after December, which is a truth that I don’t like to think about.
That all said, despite my praise for the university, there are some things I hope to see worked on by fall 2017. The administration, for example, must sit down and listen to the menstrual products campaign and actually take action to address the students’ concerns. I hope to see the university honor and build upon its promises to diversify the student body, the faculty and the staff as indicated in President Liebowitz’s “Update on Diversity and Inclusion Efforts” email dated Nov. 18. The institution must continue to reaffirm its commitment to social justice in all facets of university life, and while I may not be physically present to experience progress here, I trust and believe in the student body to push said progress.
Of course, the time away from the university will not be about what I am not experiencing. It will be about a new set of experiences. It is about diverging from the familiar (and after five semesters, the mundane) immersion in a different culture, building new bridges and exploring different pedagogies. Although I’d like to minimize my own expectations in favor of keeping an open mind, I anticipate a semester like no other that I have experienced in Waltham, all while coming to know a new set of friends, peers and mentors. I also am looking forward to seeing friends in Europe that I have not seen for a long time.
Chances are that this will be my final article for The Hoot until August 2017, but my final time spent as a junior at the university will be with the Ski and Snowboard Team. I consider myself privileged to have been a part of the team for the last three years, and it will be especially hard to say goodbye to my friends on the team’s training trip, which ends just days before I leave the country.
While this may be my last article for The Hoot for a while, Brandeis University’s community newspaper will continue to occupy a place in my heart. The Hoot was the first club I got involved with, and I am unequivocally glad that I stuck with it. I’m proud of the work I’ve done at the paper copy editing, as the website editor and as the Opinions editor. I’m proud of many of the ideas I’ve seen. I’m proud of the people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made, and I am counting down the days until I can once again be a meaningful presence to the paper.
But in the meantime, Europe, here I come.