Friday, July 19, 2013

Touring the Endless Possibilities

Today was one of the most hectic days that I think I will have on this trip prior to checking into Brown University. My morning started off with me waking up slightly behind my designated schedule which caused me to have to run through my room like a woman with her head on fire. Despite the rocky start in the morning I was  definitely on time and made it on the road this time early enough to go get breakfast. This really made me put into prospective my responsibility level and how I need to take more precautions to make sure that this never happens again. I realized that I always have my grandma to wake me up in the mornings, but I’m a young adult now and I need to learn how to be held accountable for my own actions. No matter what occurred in the morning I was ready to take in Brandeis University in its entirety. I was really excited to see what Brandeis had to offer based on the simple fact that Wellesley College was so impressive I inferred that the rest of the schools had to be just as worthy.
Carl and Ruth Shapiro Admission Center
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
After my cohort and I entered the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Admission Center a receptionist handed us a few note cards to fill out.
Brandeis Lobby
After I finished filling out my notecard I noticed a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that hung directly on the wall opposite from me.

 This made me feel like Brandeis truly believes in defying stereotypes and equality for all of its students. I noticed that this college had a lot of diversity and had a historic feeling throughout the atmosphere. I really got excited to see what else Brandeis had to offer and as more potential students began to arrive our tour guides came into the lobby to introduce themselves. There was a man and a woman who would show us around campus, but first they wanted us get a little bit of background information. After several people began to introduce themselves it became a ongoing trend of most of us being from the Bay Area. It seemed like everyone there was practically going to say that they were native Californians and this became quite amusing to the crowd.  I said, “My name is Alicia and you guessed it, I am from the Bay Area as well. I want to major in cognitive neuroscience.” After the introductions our tour guides split the group in half due to its gigantic size  I ended up with the man whose name is Matt. He began by telling us about Brandeis’ activities such as an annual club fair where incoming students can sign up for clubs. I learned that Brandeis offers over 260 clubs and at first Matt did not believe that he would find any clubs that would interest him, but ended up signing up for eighteen clubs. This made me increasingly curious about the variety of clubs that I might want to join if i attended Brandeis. He also mentioned that he was a part of a cappella group and enjoyed trying out theater for a small amount of time even though he would never major in it.
After he told us about Brandeis’ campus activities and clubs he lead us into the library where they had about 1.2 million books which was an overwhelming number to think about if I ever wanted to check one out. The library looked really small in the front, but Matt informed the group that the library was in fact quite spacious. There was even a National Womens Tribute Area which was quite a coincidence considering the reasons why we are in the East Coast.
Then, Matt led us further down the path and discussed Brandeis’ unorthodox architectural inspirations. Some of the buildings were modeled after a piano, a top hat, a Polaroid camera. Matt went into further depth when he disclosed that the inventor of the Q-tip lived in the science building on campus and that is the reason why the building resembles a Q-tip. I personally could not see any of the supposed resemblance and we moved on with the rest of the tour. I thought that it look more like a high-tech aircraft which made me slightly worried about what the rest of the university might look like. Matt also showed us the Edyth and Irving Usen Hall where all of the incoming freshmen reside at.
About 85% of the students at Brandeis lives on campus. Oftentimes in doubles, triples, or occasionally singles. He told us that we could fill out surveys and submit them to the RA’s on campus so that we could have a roommate who had the same interests as us. To the best of Matt’s knowledge no student has ever had a roommate that they constantly argued with which lead them to petition to get a new one appointed to them. I was elated when I found this out, because this meant that I would immediately find someone whom I could become acquainted with and would at least know one person on campus.
 After looking at the freshmen dorms we saw the beautiful pond outside the front of the dorms and then we went to go look at the sophomore castle.
Pond infront of Freshmen Dorms
Apparently, Brandeis sophomores get to live like royalty or at least that is how it appears on the outside of the castle.
Sophomore Castle
The castle was built from the inside out which has shown itself to be a problem, because the measurements are completely off. Some parts of the castle are forbidden  due to the issue of possible injury. I was not excited to hear that the castle looked great on the outside, but on the inside was a renovation  nightmare.
Despite, learning about the weird interior structure most of my cohort still stated that they wouldn't mind staying in the castle. Matt also showed us three chapels at Brandeis which symbolizes religious equality. Each chapel represents a different religion and their shadows cast over one another to convey the belief that no religion is greater than another. I respected the fact that over 100 religions was represented at Brandeis since I am a Christian and I assumed that most people at Brandeis were Jewish. I was afraid of being singled out and excluded from maintaining an active social life. Matt went onto show us a few eateries on campus and disclosed that an annual Shabbat dinner was held in the dining area and that everyone usually participates despite religious differences. Even though Matt is not Jewish he attended a Dr. Seuss themed Shabbat dinner with some of his Jewish friends. If I went to Brandeis I could see myself going to a Shabbat dinner since I am interested in learning about different cultures or traditions. I admire the diversity that Brandeis has to offer from the different ethnicities to the numerous amounts of religions that are overflowing from within this small campus. Matt mentioned that each student receives three advisors to help them throughout the course of the four years they attend Brandeis. He also mentioned that if you ever wanted to change your major that you could go to the guidance center and immediately receive assistance from faculty members. It is also not uncommon to see a student and a professor going out to lunch to receive clarification on a difficult assignment or just to converse with each other. My cohort and I wanted to take a picture with Matt after the tour had concluded since he did such an amazing job during the tour.
 After the tour concluded we attended an informational session, presented by Rebecca L. Simmons, which informed us on the standards at Brandeis.
I learned that on average there are 23 students per classroom and there is a 10:1 student to faculty ratio. You can also create your own club which really intrigued me, because I would want to create a community service club that actually focuses on helping solve the major issues of the world. At my school we have a few “community service clubs”, but they are extremely inefficient and never go out or truly get involved. I want to go and feed the homeless, mentor illiterate children in foreign countries, and participate in cleaning animals who have been affected by oil spills. After the slide show presentation Ms. Simmons answered a serious of questions and offered to talk to us one on one if we had any personal questions after the informational session.
Rebecca L. Simmons answering questions

Before heading over to Boston University we did toured the city and as you can tell the baseball is extremely popular in Boston.



After walking around for about an hour or so the last place that we toured was Boston University which I thought had impeccable architecture no matter which building you went in.
 We already filled out our notecards prior to going for a walk in the city, so we were able to jump right into the infomational session.
We began the informational session with Shereice a junior at BU and an alum Katelyn who talked to the group about the different majors Boston University has to offer. Shereice studied abroad and went to the UK with upperclassmen which is where she discovered her major. Originally, Shereice thought that she wanted to major in Biology but after studying abroad with a few upperclassmen they helped her realize that international relations was where she truly needed to be. She is currently majoring in international relations and minoring in Chinese. They informed us on how important it is to make sure that you don’t over sensationalize the person who you are writing about that inspires you, because then you might focus on them more than informing the college on what you have to offer. This put into prospective why we are required to blog every day and now I know that this is excellent practice for what is to come. These blogs are a representation of who we are as individuals and so should our college enrollment essays be as well. It is important to separate yourself from the competition and show the college what you have to offer instead of following in your peers footsteps. This informational session helped me tremendously and the next thing we did was go on the tour.

 My tour guides’ name was Sean and he showed us the library where most students come to get technological help if their computer or printer is not functioning properly. The library also includes secluded sections in the upper level of the library which was where most students who need absolute silence go to study.
Library

The next place that we visited was the dormitories which were a lot smaller than I had imagined.
Boston University Dorm
I felt like I might suffocate if I stayed in the small cubicle like dorm any longer. However, on the brighter side of things Sean stated that juniors and seniors get to move into suite-like apartments or high risers. Sean also showed us some of the housing that is offered at BU which lets you live with people who are majoring in the same thing as you. I got really excited when I heard this, because this makes it easier for you to connect with your roommates and learn who you can go to if you need help with an assignment. As we journeyed further outside we saw a seal that has a strange superstition accompanied with it. Rumor has it that if you walk across the seal you will not graduate within four years and will have to spend a lot more years or money at Boston University.
Even when approaching the seal no one wanted to tempt fate and walked around the seal so that we could continue the tour. The tour ended shortly after viewing a few more buildings and we went back to the hotel for dinner. Today was a busy day, but still very informative and enjoyable. I can now only anticipate the day I move into the dorms at Brown University and continue growing on my journey.
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