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Brandeis in the eyes of the freshmen

Happy second week of school! Returning students, hope you are all thriving or surviving; new students, hope you have already got a sense of how Brandeis is like. What does the class of 2027 think of Brandeis? What can we or the school do to give them a better once-in-a-lifetime college experience? Walking around the first-year dorms, The Hoot interviewed members of the class of 2027 on their thoughts of Brandeis so far.

The first-years all shared their appreciation for the overall vibe and the people they have encountered at Brandeis. Some international students who accepted the interview expressed how inclusive and welcoming the campus is in particular. Jessica Zhang ’27 told The Hoot: “I originally know a lot of my friends from WeChat and through international welcome events. But when I moved in, I felt like I also got to know more of the local people as well.” Another international student, Kerry Zhao ’27, said: “Before I arrived on campus, I saw some reviews on social media, like Reddit. They said the vibe of Brandeis is kind of weird and quiet. But after I arrived on campus, I found the students here are actually more enthusiastic and kind.” Lulu Tsoi ’27 also mentioned that “Brandeis overall is a very diverse and accepting community,” and that everyone she met so far has been really nice and friendly.

A domestic student, Kalen Mogil ’27 also acknowledged Brandeis as a welcoming and diverse community: “I’ve definitely not felt like I couldn’t just sit down at a table and feel welcome. I’ve met a lot of new people and I think it’s really cool how so many people are from abroad, also just from different states in general.”

The freshmen did have some thoughts on the hilly campus—just as everyone else has had. Zhao told The Hoot: “Walking up and down everyday is really a challenge to my muscles, like my thighs and everything.”

Meanwhile, there are areas better than their expectation—Ruby Xu ’27 expressed her thoughts on the dining hall food and the campus’ location: “[I looked the food up] on the app Niche, like it reviews the school for you, and it was a D-minus. So the food is actually better than I thought.” Also, Waltham is more isolated than she imagined: “It’s my first time coming to Boston, and in my imagination, Boston can be a very big city, and even if it’s Waltham, it would be much bigger and closer to the city.”

The biggest concern and area of support that the interviewees would want is based on academics. Amanda Zhang ’27 would like to get to know more about the faculty, “like the connections you can make here, [especially] when you’re applying to med school, right? You want to know more about who you can reach out to for letters of recommendation.” Xu had a similar concern regarding reaching out to her academic advisors: “I’m not sure about the courses, or if I can decide my major right now. I need to talk about them with my advisors. But once I see the calendar of the appointment, I can’t see the name of my advisor, so I am a little bit confused about that.”

Another potential science major student, Angelina Jin ’27, expressed her interests in research and how Brandeis could help her achieve that. “I went into Brandeis knowing that it was a R1 school for research. The undergraduate population here is rather small compared to other universities, so that’s why I came here, mainly for the closer connection between the students and the professors. I would also be able to get more research opportunities here.”

Besides academics, Jin wished she could have more exposure to Greek life here, as she was not aware that Greek life existed at Brandeis. Although she did not plan to rush any of the sororities, she said, “I know my friends (from other schools) also went there, so I feel like it would be, like, fun to just go and see the party and stuff.”

All the first-years had a positive impression of Brandeis so far, especially of such a good community it fosters. They are looking forward to being more involved with academic and student life resources, as a prosperous four years are waiting ahead for them.

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