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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

This year’s midyears up to full time status

Published: March 16, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

Despite starting their Brandeis careers a semester late, this year's midyear class are already involved in the community. Despite living in separate housing, midyears have also made friendships with their 'regular' counterparts.

How did this come about, given that the first midyear class of just four years ago found itself at a supreme disadvantage to coming late?

“My OLs (Orientation Leaders) were helpful. [One of] mine was interested in the same activities as I am,” stated midyear Justin Backal-Balik '10. “Also, having the activities fair a week after we got here was good. Not to mention that e-mails stating the week's activities are sent out every week.” Backal-Balik is involved in quite a few student activities, including Greed, a student written play with the Free Play Theater Cooperative, Brandeis Democrats, and others.

“I'm still getting oriented with the all the opportunities that Brandeis has to offer,” said midyear Faith Brigham '10. “I didn't even know about half the stuff that there was here..but the orientation leaders were very welcoming and outgoing, which got me very excited to be here. Also, Facebook is a great resource for facilitating participation.”

Many groups utilize Facebook as a way of attracting members, including the Brandeis Democrat Asscoiation and Free Play Theater Cooperative.

Midyear Leah Bloom '10 agreed, though she added some criticism to the midyear entry process as well. “I loved my OLs…but I didn't like having two orientations, one in June and one in January. They were so broken up.” Nevertheless, Bloom has managed to find her way into University Choir, Brandeis Cheerleading Squad and the UTC's Into The Woods.

Getting involved has not always been a midyear strength. Just two years ago, the process of integrating midyears into the Brandeis community was much weaker. “A lot of my closest friends are still midyears,” stated midyear Sam Negin '08. “I really wasn't aware of half the offerings that Brandeis has available until well into my Sophomore year.”

Future OLs should be skilled at working with next year's midyears since many of them may come from this year's midyear class. Among applicants for the position next year are Brigham and Backal-Balik. “Orientation made me feel comfortable at school,” Brigham explained, “I want to pass that feeling on. My OLs were helpful, and I thought it would be fun to give that assistance to others,” added Backal-Balik.

Other activities to make midyears feel at home have included “playdates” between regular Freshman and midyear floors and dorm raps by various clubs.

One trend that students wish to dispel is that midyears are more outgoing than their “regular” counterparts. “I would say they are as outgoing,” said Sara Bloomberg '10, a regular. “But we have our own outgoing people as well.”

Regardless, the midyears have provided a fresh source of energy since their arrival during the bleak month of January, and it looks as though they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.