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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Reflections on starting my midyear experience

Published: January 21, 2011
Section: Opinions


Big, bold and blue, the word was clearly printed on the large white envelope I held in my shaking hands. Heart pumping, I ran into the kitchen to show my family. I had been accepted. I had been chosen. I tore open the envelope and proudly began to read the letter aloud. It started off the same as any, welcoming me to the Brandeis class of 2014, but quickly I came face to face with a brand new word: midyear. What did this mean? What exactly was a midyear? And, most of all, why was I not allowed to begin in August like all the other members of my class?

Bitterness began to well up within me as I finally sat down to read the midyear information pamphlet. The school’s administration wrote about how the midyears were a dynamic group on campus and usually went on to become student leaders. Past midyears wrote about how much they had loved the midyear experience and how it had personally affected them. Each article made it seem like I had been selected for something incredible. Each article enforced the point that being a midyear was something of which to be proud. Supposedly the midyears were a community of strong individuals hand-selected by the administration office. Supposedly being a midyear meant that I was special. I should have felt proud. Hell, I should have felt honored. But, even with all the pro-midyear information, the only emotion I felt was disappointment. I didn’t understand. I didn’t want to be special. I didn’t want to be a midyear. But, nonetheless, that’s what I became.

On Jan. 14, I, along with about 100 of my peers, arrived on campus filled with excitement and a few nerves. Midyear orientation had begun. Although I had definitely come to terms with beginning university a semester late, I was still wary about how smoothly we would be integrated into the school.

It turns out I had nothing to be worried about at all. During the three days dedicated to midyear orientation, I found myself surrounded by an incredible group of people, staff and students alike. Together we went through all the steps that each first-year student takes upon arrival to campus: the information sessions, the tours and, perhaps most importantly of all, the community building. The Orientation Leaders, the staff and peer advisers who took us through this journey, repeatedly reinforced the information found in the original midyear packet: being a midyear was an incredible opportunity as well as an asset to the Brandeis community. They were genuinely proud to have us there and I genuinely found myself proud to have been chosen to take part in something so special.

-When the returning Brandeis students arrived on campus for the start of the semester, I felt that instead of us being thrown into their preexisting community, they were joining ours. And now, slowly but surely, these two communities are joining together as one. I had been so quick to doubt that this was possible but in only a few short days it has come to fruition. I cannot wait for my next three and a half years here at Brandeis University; I’m sure they will be just as incredible as my first week here has been.