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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Avoiding a typical Brandeisian weekend

Published: September 9, 2011
Section: Arts, Etc., Top Stories

First year, the first post-orientation weekend on campus for me was the worst. In front of me was the weekend and, instead of it being something for me to enjoy, I was petrified. All sorts of questions ran through my head: What am I supposed to do? Who am I supposed to hang out with? How long can I stay in bed and still remain socially acceptable? Oh dear God, why am I in college?

When that first weekend rolled around this time, I believed that being a sophomore would grant it a stability that results from having a full academic year under my belt. Lo, that was not the case. Still, I believe that I have enough wisdom to create a how-to guide for dealing with weekends at Brandeis University, using my own Saturday as an example of what and what not to do.

DO purposely wake up late so you won’t have to deal with breakfast. As one of the elusive Village folk this year, I could theoretically pour cereal into a bowl and eat that for breakfast. But washing dishes is kind of not so great. Forego that whole situation by waking up late! This is doubly true for students on an actual meal plan. For first-years who remain unaware: Usdan does not believe in breakfast on the weekends. Instead, they offer a half-hearted “brunch” at 11:30 a.m. It’s a lose-lose situation. Kids who actually eat breakfast eat it too late and kids who want lunch do not get legitimate lunch items but are instead offered pancakes or scrambled eggs as a consolation prize. Since everyone on campus is hungry, the lines are ridiculous.

DO NOT do nothing simply because you are independent and can choose not to do things. For example, this weekend I laid in bed and felt bad for myself. That is way too easy at Brandeis. Opt out of it! Sit on the quad! Read a book! Climb the Brandeis statue! Do not lie there just because you can. This leads me to my next point:

DO things to pass time. Brandeis is not a “happenin’” campus. Parties here are not real parties and Waltham is not really a place in which to walk around. Brandeis is the kind of place where you have to make your own fun. This weekend, I played the board game “The Settlers of Catan” for the first time; it is as arbitrary as it sounds. That took up two hours of my time before playing “Mario Kart” and “Wii Sports.” Like I said, Brandeis kids need to be clever and interesting enough to make our own fun. This is just the outlet that I employed this weekend.

DO NOT fall asleep while watching your roommate play the video game “Epic Mickey,” especially with your glasses on. It is a disaster. It also does not make you feel more rested. Things get even worse when you realize that it’s 7 p.m. and not only have you not left your floor but you also need to start making dinner.

DO have all cooking supplies at your disposal. I didn’t, and that resulted in my opening cans of tuna without a can opener. Do not use a screwdriver in lieu of a can opener. It will only lead to a mangled piece of metal, tuna juice all over the place, a bleeding finger and possible tetanus.

DO leave your dorm before 9 p.m. if at all possible, even if it’s only to go to another dorm. After meeting up with friends, make sure to look at what events are happening on campus. As life would have it, there was a Punk Rock ’n’ Roll concert happening this weekend featuring Miniature Tigers. Punk Rock ’n’ Roll frequently brings bands to campus to play at Chum’s. Even though most of the bands are pretty obscure given the size of the venue and the amount of money the club is allotted, the bands they bring are still “real” bands. It’s also generally good practice to like obscure bands so that you can go see them cheaply and without an excessive number of tweens present.

DO have fun at concerts regardless of what social standards dictate as “dancing.” It was a very good show, even if it began with awkward mingling and people (including myself) being too uncomfortable to start dancing to the music. Then I realized that everyone around me was just as uncomfortable and awful at dancing. Get into it fast! Especially with Miniature Tigers and their fast-paced, sort of tween poppy music—definitely one of the highlights of this year for me. Jump around and gyrate as if there were no tomorrow. I personally love Miniature Tigers and was overly eager but that only fueled the excitement of the kids around me. Fun breeds fun!

DO dance your way to the front. Holler “Play ‘Like or Like Like!’” at the stage. Also yell along with “Cannibal Queen” as the original voice is standing a little under two feet in front of you. Giggle at how exciting that concept is. When the concert ends, make sure you eye the lead singer as he steps off the stage that divides “the band” from “Brandeis students.” Catch up to him in the mad rush of people leaving Chum’s and blabber on about how “Tell It To the Volcano” was the only album you listened to this summer. Then ask for a hug because that is the only appropriate response to meeting someone cool.

After a comatose 10 minutes post-hug, go to Battle of The DJs for the first time. Hear one pretty good DJ and suffer awkwardly gesticulating during bad DJs until midnight. Dance hard and fast anyway. Go back to friend’s dorm to watch “Millionaire Matchmaker.” Go to bed.

There you have it, a Saturday well spent. I am a firm believer that firstly, knowing what to do over the weekend is hard and, secondly, going to Cambridge under the wrath of the omniscient force that is the Cambridge shuttle is not always the best decision. There is much fun to be had on campus if one can accept these tenets. Have fun, make fun and live hard—even if that means staying in your dorm for more than 14 hours.