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Midyear proximity to juniors may pose problem

Published: October 30, 2009
Section: Front Page


VILLAGE LIFE: Two juniors bake cookies in The Village.  Next semester, these students’ next door neighbors could very well be midyear students.<br /><i>PHOTOS BY YUAN YAO/The Hoot</i>

VILLAGE LIFE: Two juniors bake cookies in The Village. Next semester, these students’ next door neighbors could very well be midyear students.
PHOTOS BY YUAN YAO/The Hoot

With first-year housing tighter than ever, midyear students moving into the Village Quad next semester will join members of the junior class, the Department of Community Living (DCL) confirmed this week.

While DCL announced last spring that Class of 2013 midyears would be living in the Village, they had planned that the incoming freshmen would have the quad to themselves once the building’s previous residents left for a semester abroad.

The new proximity to upperclassmen concerns Julian Olidort ‘11, who was a midyear student in 2008 and who was a midyear Community Advisor (CA) last year.

“[The problem] would be a social adjustment problem: the midyears will be influenced by the upperclassmen, and miss an opportunity to be guided by and with other first-years,” he said. He went on to say that this fact is only compounded by the fact that the Village is far from Massell and North Quads.

Jenny Abdou the coordinator in charge of Midyear Orientation, however, disagreed. “[Midyear students] hit the ground running,” she said. “I think it is a great chance for our upperclassmen to be role models [for the first-years] about what makes a good Brandeis citizen.”

Olidort, however, offered additional “constructive criticism” of the decision to give midyears older neighbors.

“The first-years will be living near two wet quads, and [that] will put a strain on them socially,” he said.

Senior Director of DCL Jeremy Leiferman said the number of juniors actually living with midyears will be minimal, and said, “right now, the majority of Village residents will be going abroad.”

Leiferman then made the case that Village housing will even be beneficial for the midyears. “The goal is [for midyears] to be distinctly separated. At first [when introduced six years ago], midyears were in many locations, but now we have them all in one area,” he said.

When asked a question regarding the older students’ living in the same hall as the newly arrived first-year students, Leiferman said that the students could rise to the occasion. “The midyear population is unique—it’s a challenge for them, and [The Department of Admissions] selects midyears very carefully, for those students who will be able to transition more easily,” he said.

Olidort also worries that placing the midyears in the Village will isolate them from their fellow first-years.

“The issue would be the midyears’ being in a non-first-year quad,” said Olidort.

As a member of a midyear class, Ray Persaud ’12 said he could see the difficulties of living isolated from their fellow first-years. “In Usen, [the midyears] were all together, but we still had the first-year class,” Persaud said.

I really don’t think it’s a good idea,” Persaud continued. “Coming in as a midyear, you’re already out of the loop…for midyears, who are already a semester behind, it will be even harder to get to know their fellow classmates.”

Abdou disagrees. “I don’t worry about their interaction [with others in their class] because there are so many programs; from the First-Year Committee and Student Activities and Students Events’ activities, [they will interact],” Abdou said.

There are also concerns that the difficult adjustment for midyears could be exacerbated by the fact that there will be three CAs for the class, a decline from four CAs for the Midyear Class of 2012.

Discipline for the midyear class is another foreseen challenge for CAs and coordinators.

“There are some rambunctious midyears, but my residents weren’t problematic,” Olidort said.

Persaud said that his class had a lot of problems with behavior and other rules, at least in terms of the number of students written up and cited.

“The disciplinary problems will get even worse, especially with the upperclassmen there,” he said.