To acquire wisdom, one must observe

The treat horseshoe: What is college really about?

For those unfamiliar with the concept of the treat horseshoe, let me orient you. The treat horseshoe, first introduced to me by Ben Breslow ’25, is a concept that describes how deserving one is of a treat. If you’re on the low end, beating yourself up over some past mistake or feeling badly about some aspect of your life, a treat would probably do wonders to cheer you up. If you’re on the high end, generally elated about the state of things, then you deserve a treat for steering your ship through uncharted and choppy waters. In the middle, you’re ambivalent about life and its happenings, and find yourself unable to even conceive the notion of desire for a treat.

The treat horseshoe has recurred in my mind on about a weekly basis since I learned about it, and I sometimes even ask myself where I lie on the semi-circle. Right now, I’m incapable of even desiring a treat.

As I consider the treat horseshoe, I consider the other, certainly-less-than-academic things I’ve learned. How to start a conversation, usually by asking someone if they think the sun would win in a fight against one billion lions. The answers are more varied than you would think. How to kindly step away from commitments you don’t have space for any more, usually by just speaking up after a good bit of hand-wringing.

College is supposed to be all about the learning you get outside of class, right? Unless you’re studying business for the sake of draining the world of its money and yourself of your soul, I think most of college’s lessons come from outside of class. Aside from silly conversation starters and interpersonal skills, I think the most important thing that I’ve picked up is how to truly work.

It may sound like I’m referring to studying, as a double major at Brandeis surely I have a lot of work. And I do, but that’s not where I’ve learned how to work hard. It’s right here at The Hoot, the newspaper I call home. I’ve written over 150 articles for The Hoot, given ideas and feedback on scores more, and literally poured my entire heart and soul into this godforsaken newspaper.

And even though sometimes I feel as though I can’t possibly write that fifth article in a week, I can’t possibly find the time to stay at our production night until 3 a.m., somehow I always do. And I think, truly, that the work has made me into a better version of myself. A friend of mine says that, in her new job at a local hospital, she gets constant compliments from her boss on the practical skills that she possesses just after graduating from Brandeis. This friend, Victoria Morrongiello ’23, was my predecessor. Not just in being the editor in chief of The Hoot before me, but in working so goddamn hard for this newspaper that it would make a normal person’s hair fall out.

And she learned from it. She learned how to write a damn good email. She learned how to work with folks with different ideas and different ways of expressing them. She worked with me, and I now stand in her post, a post that was also held by Maddie Rousell ’23 and Thomas Pickering ’23, and see why they did it.

I see why these people poured so much time and effort and love and care and soul into The Hoot. I see how special the community that it cultivates is. I, selfishly, see how special it is to see your name on the front cover of a stupid little piece of paper that gets placed all around campus.

The Hoot has taught me to work, and it’s taught me to love the work I do, even when that work makes me destroy my sleep schedule on a weekly basis. The Hoot has taught me a certain, self-destructive and self-indulgent kind of work. And I’m grateful for it. I know that if I can write 150 articles, each of which I am proud of and can stand by as a representation of myself, I can do anything.

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