To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Rat meets world

It took me a while to feel at home at The Hoot, and at Brandeis in general. There was something so vague and disorienting about freshman year, and when we got sent home in March 2020 I felt like I was just starting to get the hang of everyone’s names and positions on the editorial board. I was one of the only first-years who showed up every week to production night to copy edit, so at first I was intimidated being around mostly upperclassmen.

But earlier this week I was walking to class, and I saw Logan Ashkinazy ’25, my successor as copy editor and one of our incoming editors-in-chief (EIC). I waved and said hi, as usual. Then I ran into Cyrenity Augustin ’24, our amazing social media editor and the mastermind behind our merch this semester. We stopped to chat for a bit, and I realized I had missed hanging out with her in the corner of the Brandeis Media Coalition during the previous week’s prod night, as it was a dry run without graduating seniors. Coming down the Rabb steps I spotted Naomi Stephenson ’26, who is continuing the tradition of Hoot-Ballet Club cross-pollination. After class, I said hi to Cooper Gottfried ’25, our other incoming EIC and resident golden retriever. I was struck by how amazing it has been to connect with people from various class years and majors that I wouldn’t have gotten to know if it wasn’t for The Hoot. As someone who grew up in a small town, I love being able to feel like I know people and I’m part of a community; if I don’t see a friendly face I feel lost. So I want to start by saying thank you to The Hoot, and everyone I’ve met through being a part of it, for helping me feel less alone at Brandeis, if not right away, then certainly by the time I’m leaving.

At the risk of sounding like a sappy mom, I’m proud to have helped lead a group of such talented, kind and hardworking people. Frankly, The Hoot would not be around today if it wasn’t for them, and my experience at Brandeis would not have been nearly as fulfilling. I got to learn about so many aspects of campus life, so many interesting events, clubs and people that would not have crossed my radar otherwise. For all the jokes we make about Brandeis being too small and boring, there are plenty of students hard at work around us doing super cool things that they love. I think I’m going to miss that after graduation, once the real world has crushed my soul and everyone else’s.

Oof, that got dark. Nothing like post-grad existential angst to seep into even the cheesiest of Hoot traditions. 

Another home for me at Brandeis was dance. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to keep dancing while I was in college, but I’m so glad I did, because while five-hour rehearsal days in Linsey sometimes drove me crazy, dancing also kept me sane. I’m so grateful for all the people I got to know through dance, including some of my closest friends. I’ll never forget the late nights and early mornings spent in the SCC theater during Nutcracker season, making sure props were blown up, costumes were glued together and choreography was in sync. I will always be a Rat Queen in my heart—never thought I’d type that sentence. 

No reflection on my time in undergrad would be complete without an ode to my study abroad experience. Maybe unsurprisingly, it was one of my favorite semesters—and not only because Edinburgh is a lot prettier than Waltham. The amazing people I met and got to know while abroad were really what made the experience unforgettable, and I can safely say I made friends for life.

I’m not quite sure what my life will look like after graduation, an uncertainty that has given me no small amount of breakdowns in the library recently. But taking the time to look back and reflect on all that I’m grateful for during my time here helps me feel just a little more grounded, and a little more ready to say goodbye.

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