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One Tall Voice: Senior advice from One Tall Senior

Published: March 27, 2009
Section: Opinions


As I begin winding down my Brandeis career, I am similarly thinking about winding down my writing in the Hoot. I know that I want to convey some “Senior advice” before I step away from “One Tall Voice” permanently and I think I have valuable suggestions for individuals to pursue. I want to leave my last columns free for whatever my heart may desire, so I’d like to use this article as a platform to convey my pieces of advice.

One thing that has always fascinated me about Brandeis is that people seem crazed about pursuing multiple majors and multiple minors. It is even a point of pride to rack up additional concentrations, as some may believe it difficult to major in a multitude of fields.

First, I’d just like to say that gaining an obnoxious number of concentrations is not any more difficult than not doing so, as you are just focusing your studies. You can double-major and double-minor by taking 29 classes (trust me, I did it and am getting my Master’s too!)

But back to why this is stupid. If one truly believes all the Liberal Arts talk, then doing this is harmful to your academic and intellectual growth. Although (as illustrated in a previous article) I find adherence to some tenets of the Liberal Arts tradition annoying, I can certainly see the benefit of academic exploration. By accumulating an ungodly number of concentrations, you are not extending your intellectual boundaries and are not exploring all that the academy has to offer.

By racking up majors and minors, you are impressing no one, and are simply ensuring that you have multiple “mini-commencements” to go to at graduation. Take it from a double-major, double-minor, 4-year B.A/Master’s candidate: don’t do it. Explore and enroll in classes you genuinely enjoy.

Another thing that is interesting about Brandeis is that people have a tendency to get ridiculously involved in their community via extra-curricular participation. I’m one to talk. I was once a member of 19 clubs, was an officer in 10, and participated in two seasons of Varsity athletics. I am currently a Community Advisor and am also a campus tour guide.

At some level I enjoyed meeting people and getting involved, but on another level, I felt that I was being pressured by our community to become a member of more and more clubs. And because of it, I wasn’t incredibly good at anything I did. I was horrible at Track and only mediocre at debate. I wrote my Hoot articles half an hour before deadline and was horrific at quizbowl. I would encourage people to get involved with a few clubs and do those well. Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Be good at the few things you do and you will feel much better about yourself.

Finally, I would like to suggest that people not go against the grain and try to do things that the Brandeis community may not like. Take it for me, if you disapprove of a popular sentiment, if you have different feelings about issues, do not speak up. Keep it to yourself, find friends who you can relate to and do not make waves.

My first two years at Brandeis, I was not very vocal about my beliefs, and I reaped all the benefits of this lifestyle. People loved me, I got elected to various Union offices, won a number of awards, and it was all made possible due to my non-abrasive attitude.

Since then, I have tried to contribute to the community by adding my diverse beliefs and sentiments to the marketplace of ideas. This has resulted in nothing but pain and discrimination, as I have been metaphorically ‘crapped on’ by the Brandeis community.

Despite what people may say, the Brandeis community is not open to all ideas. The people at this university are close-minded and deeply prejudiced. I would advise those who may have contrary opinions to keep them to themselves so that they may reap all the benefits of quiet adherence.

I don’t claim wisdom, but here is just some of the wisdom I have acquired after my four years at this university. To recap, no one is impressed that you are double-majoring and double-minoring. Anyone can do it, and it is, in fact, quite easy.

In addition, don’t spread yourself to thin and over-saturate yourself with clubs and activities. Devote time to a select few and expend all you energy on those organizations. Also, don’t go against the grain and do not voice an opinion that may be contrary to the beliefs of a majority of Brandeisians.

All right, I can rest assured that some of this wisdom has been conveyed and stay tuned for my last articles, they should be a doozey.