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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

NEGIN: Whats So Great About Brandeis, Anyway?

Published: September 23, 2005
Section: Opinions

I recently attended one of the new student send offs in my area before returning to campus, and was confronted with the responsibility of having to show off all the great things about Brandeis. Dont let this articles title lead you to believe that I dislike Brandeis in any way, but I actually had trouble making the school sound good. After all, even though the school has an excellent academic reputation, everything else just plain stinks.

The campus is not all that attractive;

the food in Sherman is horrible, and Usdan food is only nominally better;

the freshmen have the only good housing on campus, and after that, you only have a shot at decent housing if you are fortunate in the lottery. And for upper classmen, theres no guarantee there will be housing at all. In addition, in my experience, there is so much bureaucracy that often things are more work than they are worth. Also, the school does nothing to show students the opportunities for activities in the area. There are probably tons of things I would love to do in Boston (or other cities in the area) if I only knew that they existed.

Having said all that, Brandeis actually does have its positive aspects, too. First, as I already said, Brandeis has an excellent academic reputation. For its size, Brandeis is one of the best research universities in the country. Brandeis has the benefits of a small, New England school feel, but the resources of a much larger university. For the academically oriented, this is the best of both worlds. This brings me to the next good thing about Brandeis, which is the type of student body Brandeis attracts. Brandeis usually attracts a highly studious, goal-oriented group of students. Brandeis students tend to be more focused on learning than on tests and grades. The Brandeis community also tends to have a sense of their place in the world, truly as members of a larger community that extends beyond their microcosm of it.

Also, being in the Boston area as a college student is among the best experiences that one could ask for. With something like fifty or sixty schools in a fifty-mile radius of Boston, the student atmosphere around here is excellent. There are always things to do in Boston or Cambridge, especially in Harvard Square, including the Aquarium, the Swan Boats (when theres nice weather), the Childrens Museum, tons of shopping and restaurants, the Prudential Center, the Museum of Fine Arts, Fannueil Hall, Quincy Market, and John F. Kennedys birth place just to name a few.

Lastly, as Alwina Bennett likes to keep reminding us in her weekly (or, sometimes, more often) e-mails, if its Wednesday, theres something going on around campus, including sporting events, the activities fair, events at Chums, concerts and more. If theres any message Id really like to send out about the Brandeis community its this: yeah, lots of things suck around campus, but really, when you consider all the benefits of a Brandeis education, its all worth while