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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

A midyear’s journey

Published: September 3, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.

GRAPHIC BY Ariel Wittenberg/The Hoot

When I was offered admittance to Brandeis as a midyear student, I was at first quite disheartened and confused as to why I had not been accepted into the fall term. So I began to read through the literature that Brandeis provided, as well as blogs and college-prep websites, about what it meant to be a midyear at Brandeis. I discovered that midyear students were no less qualified than fall term students, with no discrepancies in high school course difficulty, Grade Point Averages or extracurricular activities. I realized that being a midyear was not such a bad thing, and that it could be something unique and rewarding if I truly embraced the program for what it is worth.

One of the initial benefits of midyear acceptance is approximately four and a half more months of free time than general acceptance students have before classes begin. One may take courses at a local college to earn the same credits as they would during a semester at Brandeis, or perhaps an individual could find employment in order to earn extra money to afford the pricey tuition of a top-level private education. But then there is the kid who is simply burnt out from four years of fingernail-biting, hair-pulling and 21 hour days of the International Baccalaureate Program, who wants to just relax, attend concerts and sleep through half the day.

As a product of the IB Program, there is nothing more than I would love to do that to take the final path above and let my brain and body rest in a semi-vegetative state, but I am not one to simply give up when the going gets rough. In this economy, it can be very difficult to find work, especially when you’re an 18-year-old high school graduate with very little prior work experience. Luckily, I was hired at Winn-Dixie, a southern grocery chain, where I work as a cashier and occasional bagger, about 30 to 36 hours a week. With my mother away at the University of Florida College of Education (she is getting her doctorate in education) and my father struggling to find employment as a merchant marine of over 35 years, I am the only one in the family earning an income.

Through these hardships, I have gained great insight into how tight money can be, how to balance the food budget with the utilities bills, and how to manage to have fun without breaking the bank. No longer am I the careless teen who goes to the movies every time I have a gap in my schedule, or who buys anything I want. I have also learned the value of faith and hope, and the importance of having friends and family to help get you through the difficulties in life. My pre-college journey has been very helpful and insightful, and was a much needed reality check into the importance of a good education, perseverance and dedication.

As I write this article, I have about three and a half months until I begin my next path in life as a college first-year. Of course, I am sad to leave behind my family, friends, girlfriend, beloved pets, the temperate year-round climate of the Florida coast and the essence of my childhood self … but I know that this is an important step in my life. No longer will I simply dream of my future. Now comes the time to fulfill my dreams.

I am proud to be a midyear student in the Brandeis Class of 2014 and I cannot wait to join the rest of you guys in mid-January!