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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Boston offers more than Brandeis ever could

Published: January 31, 2014
Section: Front Page

When applying to colleges, everyone has unique criteria on which they base their choices. Whether it is the strength of a particular department, having a formidable sports team or the climate, there are countless factors to take into consideration. As for myself, I extensively researched several universities and liberal arts colleges based on a myriad of reasons, most of which pertained to academics, but subsequently narrowed my list down to just 10 schools based on something which may seem wildly irrelevant. That “something” was the proximity to a city, a city teeming with diversity, heritage and culture. And in the end I chose Boston.

Despite not having ever visited Boston before, I was confident that I would enjoy it. It seemed as though it had everything. From prestigious, world-renowned institutions such as MIT and Harvard, to an array of diverse restaurants and colossal museums, it seemed to encapsulate all that one could ask for in a city. After having taken many a trip to Boston with friends over the past few months while at Brandeis, I realize I could not ask for more in a city. It leaves me stunned every time I return from it.

I remember how as I got off the Brandeis shuttle and stepped out into Harvard Square, for the first time, I took a minute to soak in my surroundings. I stood in awe of what is arguably the pinnacle of western education. Gazing at the same institution that the likes of Emerson, Thoreau and T.S. Eliot thrived in sent a shudder down my spine. I felt inclined to enter but only peered through the gates trying to decipher the archaic Latin text atop each pillar or column. Now, every time I get off at Harvard Square I step back to absorb the grandeur that surrounds me in the same way, only to find it quickly dissipates as I fathom the juxtaposition between such eminence and nonchalance that pervades the ambiance of the square.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Boston, though, is the seemingly effortless way it retains its heritage whilst simultaneously adding touches of modernity that leaves every tourist and visitor fully satisfied. Whether you are en route to the North End and happen to stumble upon Paul Revere’s house on the way or are taking a stroll through the happening center of Newbury Street, one trip to Boston can quench anyone’s thirst for knowledge, shopping or relaxation. Museums, such as the Museum of Science, make it easy to spend an entire day springing from exhibit to exhibit, whereas districts like Little Italy, offer a plethora of exquisite Italian cuisine and sumptuous desserts that can easily leave you roaming there for a whole evening. Ever since my first visit I took there, going to Boston has now become synonymous with getting tiramisu from the North End.

Strip away the infinite opportunities for learning and spending money, and one would presume the city to be bare. What separates cities like Boston from others, however, is that you need not pinpoint a specific destination in order to enjoy yourself. Whether you linger in the Boston Common under momentous weeping willows amidst the verdant landscape, or amble through the sinuous alleys to the cadence of the several street performers playing their guitars or pianos, one walk through the city can elicit any such jubilation found elsewhere. A day spent at the aquarium can quite easily end with a late-night stroll near the pier where rows of trees are lit up with bright, blue lights, vaguely reminiscent of a night in Paris. Oftentimes, you will find yourself wandering through the streets that echo with the resonant calls of such a formative history, only to find that hours have flown by. These qualities are not requisite features of a city by any means; they are discrete nuances that culminate in creating an atmosphere brimming with vibrancy.

Brandeis’ proximity to Boston is a wonderful asset and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Every once in a while when you find that your schedule is miraculously clear from all the work and general inconveniences of college life, take it upon yourself to venture out and experience this city. You won’t regret it.