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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Eliana’s Advice: In clubs and in groups

Published: October 25, 2013
Section: Opinions

Dear Eliana,

I am a freshman and I’m involved in a bunch of clubs. The thing is, I don’t feel like I’m able to be as active as I would like in them because it seems like the upperclassmen are in charge. I have ideas and opinions that I want to share but it doesn’t seem like I can. What can I do to make my voice heard and take on a bigger role in everything I’m involved in?


Dear Helpless,

It can seem hard to make yourself heard in these situations, but you just need to be assertive and patient. You need to speak up in meetings whenever possible and if you are having a hard time doing that, talk to the person in charge about your ideas so that they can bring them up to the rest of the group. You don’t need to attack people, but let them know you’re interested in a larger role. Be persistent and contribute whenever possible.

Something else to keep in mind is that you have been here for only a few months. The people who are in charge of many of the clubs and groups have been here for a few years already, so they know how things work around here. It could be beneficial for you to learn from them and to listen to what they have to say. Soon you’ll figure out how everything works and you will be able to make your voice heard.
Good luck!


Dear Eliana,

I am one of those people with a tiny bladder and I have to pee all the time. The problem is that I don’t want to leave class every time I have to go because I’m afraid I’ll offend the professor and that it will affect my participation grade. What should I do?

-Tiny Bladder

Dear Tiny Bladder,

I’m sure you’re not the only one with this problem. Classes are long, and people drink a lot of water. If I were you, I would speak to the professors about this problem. If they know the whole story, they might be more understanding about you leaving class and you will be able to make some sort of arrangement.


Dear Eliana,

I’m working on a group project for one of my classes and I have some really good ideas, but my group is not listening to what I want or are not getting things done on time. I’m afraid they’re going to make me get a bad grade. What should I do to get people to listen to me?

-In Charge

Dear In Charge,

It can be very frustrating when people won’t listen to you, but you should try to discuss things with your group rather than just telling everyone what to do. Your classmates are intelligent as well, and you should utilize each other’s strengths. You might find out that someone else has a good idea and it letting them contribute would probably make them more likely to help you. If you continue having problems with your group, then you could talk to the professor and inform him of the situation.
I hope your project goes well!