To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Brandeis is a place to grow out of

The past few weeks at work I’ve had many tables ask me if I go to Brandeis. I guess I radiate some sort of strange energy that tells people that I definitely do not go to Bentley and also that I do not belong in the service industry long-term. I hope this is because of my supreme charm and not my poor serving skills. After I tell them that I do, in fact, go to Brandeis, my tables look eagerly at the teenagers they have accompanying them and smile: “We just visited! [Insert name here] is considering committing.” One obligatory congratulation later, I get asked what my favorite part of the school is, or more specifically, why I decided to attend Brandeis over other places I got accepted to. 

As a midyear, I got asked that a lot at the beginning of my Brandeis career too but my answers have changed drastically over the past four years. “I need a change,” I’d say about studying abroad my first semester, “I need something to really make me grow.” But my Brandeis decision didn’t solely rest on the experience I had as a midyear student in London, I also visited the campus and went on the tour and to admitted students day and there was something about Brandeis that I now am able to put into words. 

I wasn’t scared when I first stepped foot on campus. Now, parents at my tables usually get confused if I say this without clarifying what I mean. College is a scary time and it’s a big change whether you’re flying over an ocean or driving twenty minutes down the road. At Brandeis, when I went on the tour as a junior in high school, I felt safe on campus right away. Unlike the large state schools I toured or the city campuses that were an unwanted adjustment from rural New Hampshire life, Brandeis was a perfect in-between of the new and the old. At Brandeis I have a small campus community, where people know each other but where you’re able to meet new people every day if you want to. There are college experiences like frat parties, dorm parties, house parties, darties and all the other variations you could imagine (plus a Purim party which I don’t think a lot of schools have!) but they are on a smaller level, so unseasoned 18-year-old Mia could fit in without too much anxiety.  

Brandeis is comfortable. Brandeis is welcoming. Brandeis is a good stepping-stone to other experiences. I learned all of these things while attending my classes, joining clubs without even really intending to (thank you Victoria and Thomas for the Hoot-spiration!) and sort of having a social life while I was at it. I was able to grow here into someone who is actually ready for the next step in her life. While at Brandeis I made some amazing friends, made not-so-amazing friends, had wonderful connections and lost them, made more wonderful connections and held on tighter. I got a job, or two, or three. Left some jobs, got another and made unlikely friends in the process. I learned how to host the aforementioned house parties and the consequences of doing so. I learned where my passions truly lie and how these passions can help me move into adulthood prepared and capable of surviving on my own. I learned how to kick the LSAT in its ass and did so accordingly. I learned where I wanted to go to law school, learned I got in and learned that I will be able to thrive for the next three years in an amazing D.C. community. 

With everything that Brandeis has given me, I am not sad to be graduating. I feel like I’ve been ready to graduate for months now, but that’s the mark of a successful college experience. As a Plant(e) choosing where to go to college, I knew I needed an environment that was perfectly saturated with every nutrient I needed to grow. Brandeis gave me all that in fewer traditional semesters than I could have ever imagined. After a first semester abroad, 3 months and an entire global pandemic and its aftermath later, I have somehow blossomed into a soon-to-be law student. 

So yes, I chose Brandeis because “I wasn’t scared” here. Or, as I later realized, because Brandeis is a place that you can—and should—comfortably grow out of. My Plant(e) self is ready to leave the confines of this crowded, nutrient-deficient school (not meant derogatorily, this is purely for the metaphor) and grow even more. And while I am excited and more than ready to leave, I am so thankful for every experience I was able to have at Brandeis. 

In the spirit of the senior op tradition, I want to express the utmost love I have for The Hoot team and everything we have endured as a newspaper. I am proud to see my ops child, Cooper, advance to the position of editor-in-chief. Keep the tradition of ops section, best section, alive! I have all my confidence in the entire editorial board team, as I’ve seen the dedication and love you give this paper through hours of your time, the detriment of your mental health and probably years off of your lifespan. Please remember to take some time for yourselves every so often, I love the paper but I love the people who run it more. 

For everyone coming to Brandeis or staying for the next year or three, don’t feel as though Brandeis is all you deserve. Take everything the university has to offer you and leave it behind confidently. Grow up and out. 

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