Photo of Daniel ShimanskyDaniel Shimansky

Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida
Majors: Psychology
Campus Involvement: member of the varsity tennis team, undergraduate departmental representative for psychology

What does being a midyear mean to you?

I feel I was seen as a student who would thrive in a midyear transition. Transitioning to college can be difficult, and Brandeis has the proper resources to help students with every part of the process. However, it still takes effort on the part of the student to approach these resources and seek help. I believe the admissions committee saw me as a person who had the strength to succeed here and the courage to reach out and to use Brandeis resources when appropriate.

Tell us a little about the midyear experience.

When people at Brandeis describe midyear students, they often use words like "outgoing" or "strong leaders"—or "the most enthusiastic people on campus." I believe that rings true. Every midyear I have met has fit the description. Some of the most prominent faces at Brandeis are midyears, and that's because, when we finally get here, we dive in to everything with a level of excitement and fervor that is unmatchable.

How has Brandeis been right for you?

What I love most about Brandeis is the welcoming, friendly and helpful environment. Whenever I have a problem, people are always around to listen to my issue and help me reach a solution. I also love the Jewish life on campus; it was very important for me to choose a school where I could continue to grow with my Jewish identity while simultaneously being challenged as a student in a top academic institution. And perhaps the best part of Brandeis is the quality friends that I have made here!

What are you most proud of doing here at Brandeis?

At Brandeis, I am most proud of my academic success and my participation in several extracurricular activities. I have really enjoyed the high level of tennis and the team camaraderie on the men’s varsity tennis team. On campus, one of my most meaningful contributions has been leading the Jewish High Holiday services for the Brandeis Orthodox Organization. There was an incredible amount of spiritual connection at the prayer services, and fellow students appreciated my efforts.

What did you do in your fall semester? What did the experience mean to you?

I trained full-time in the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla. This was an unforgettable experience for me, as I achieved my goal of improving my level of tennis in preparation for the men’s varsity tennis team while simultaneously meeting great friends and mentors at the academy.

 


Neda EidNeda Eid

Hometown: Quincy, Massachusetts
Major: English
Minors: Comparative Literature, Legal Studies and Islamic Middle Eastern Studies

What did you first think when you were offered a spot in the Midyear class and when did you come to know that being a midyear was a good fit for you?

I guess you could say I was confused. I got in but...I didn't get in? I was a little insecure about my place on campus until I learned more about being a midyear. Once I got to Brandeis, I started to see how coming into a new environment with a 100-member family of other midyears was something many of the fall semester students would have liked for themselves. I came to learn that I had received an opportunity, and, like any other opportunity, I had the power to either make it something great or not. I chose greatness.

What are you most proud of doing here at Brandeis?

I planned and organized the first Islam and the Arts: Spoken Word Poetry and Photography event, and it was fabulous. I also co-planned and organized the annual block party that the Diversity Committee holds, and that was also fabulous. Yeah...and a trillion other things, too.

What advice would you give future midyears?

Give your orientation group a chance, and put effort into those friendships. Also, definitely stay in touch with your orientation leader. I would very much encourage you to join a club, sports team, or any type of group that introduces you to fellow students outside the midyear class. That will help give you the full Brandeis experience.

 


Photo of Johanna WickemeyerJohanna Wickemeyer

Hometown: Rochester, Massachusetts
Majors: Neuroscience and Psychology
Campus Involvement: directed “A Chorus Line” for the musical theater club, orientation leader

What does being a midyear mean to you?

Being a midyear is the best of both worlds—I got to do something in my semester off that was worthwhile and meaningful to me, but I will still finish school on time. In other words, I got the experience of taking time off without being a year behind my peers.

Being a midyear on the Brandeis campus defines me. Despite the fact that there is no objective distinction between me and other members of the Class of 2012, I still proudly consider myself a midyear. I associate myself with being a part of a high-achieving group of students who took the initiative to be proactive during a semester without school.

What did you first think when you were offered a spot in the midyear class? How did you come to know that being a midyear was a good fit for you?

I have to admit, I was a little taken aback by my midyear status. But once I accepted that I didn’t have to follow the typical path of going right from high school into college, I welcomed my midyear status. After being a very high-powered student in high school, I appreciated the opportunity to take a mental break and to be a “real person” rather than a homework/study robot. It allowed me time to discover what I really want to do in life before rushing into college. As Stephen Covey explains in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” I wanted to take the time to place a ladder against the right goal before frantically climbing.

What are you most proud of doing here at Brandeis?

I am most proud of directing “A Chorus Line” for Tympanium Euphorium in fall 2009. Directing a fully choreographed, fully orchestrated, 20-person cast after only one semester at Brandeis was the pinnacle of my theatrical experience. Despite having a cast in which only a few members had any formal dance training, the show was a huge success, selling out or being close to sold out for four shows from Friday through Sunday.

What did you do in your fall semester? What did the experience mean to you?

I worked as an education intern at Trinity Repertory Theater Company in Providence, R.I. I also performed in a community theater production of “Urinetown” at Massasoit Community College. At Trinity, I helped write study guides for school groups that attended the shows, and I assistant-taught acting classes to students ages 8–18.

Being so involved with theater was a wonderful experience — it gave me time to expand on a hobby I had always considered a possible career. As much as I do enjoy theater, I think entertaining that option for a semester made me realize that it’s not what I want to do as a career. Without that experience, however, I don’t think I would have ruled it out. I would have gone through college pursuing and dreaming of a career that wasn’t the best fit for me. As much as I love theater, I know it is a hobby and second to my passion to become a doctor. Now I can focus on getting into medical school.

What advice would you give future midyears?

Think ahead, both academically and in terms of extracurricular activities. As a pre-health student, I had to take the first semester of chemistry before I arrived so I could enter the second semester of chemistry with my fellow first years. I also researched possible majors and clubs on campus.

Once you get to campus, dive right in! You’ve got nothing to lose. Sign up for every club you could possibly wish to be involved with, introduce yourself to other students in classes and clubs, and explore outside the midyear sphere.

 


Photo of Marisa TureskyMarisa Turesky

Hometown: Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Major: Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies
Campus Involvement: experiential and community-engaged learning fellow, facilitator of the Real Food Coalition at Brandeis

What did you first think when you were offered a spot in the midyear class? How did you come to know that being a midyear was a good fit for you?

When I first opened my letter, I was taken aback and did not fully understand what being accepted as a midyear meant. I then spoke directly to Brandeis students, both fall admits and midyears, to gauge their take on the midyear experience, all of which was very positive. It wasn’t until I had to decide between two schools, the other of which I would enter in September, that I began to see starting college in January as a bonus. Having been very involved during my high school experience, both in and out of the classroom, I realized that an opportunity to be outside of an institutionalized academic setting for a semester would be a great opportunity.

What are you most proud of doing here at Brandeis?

I am very proud of my work in the sustainable food movement and the dialogue that is now going on between dining services and students. My activism with the Real Food Challenge has been a great way for me to build relationships with Brandeis administrators, local businesses and farms, and other student food activists in the Boston area. Through this involvement, I have been given amazing opportunities to participate in progressive leadership development programs.

What did you do in your fall semester? What did the experience mean to you?

I spent my fall semester at a private Spanish immersion program in Barcelona and worked at a Catalan political foundation to further my knowledge of political science and current events. CatDem is a democratic foundation based in Spain that focuses on developing international political awareness through conducting research, publishing its findings and providing learning opportunities. There are about 20 people, including volunteers, who work at CatDem; all are multilingual, very engaged, involved, inquisitive, highly motivated and motivating individuals with a lot of academic experience. I worked with the international department — which strives to educate Catalans about non-Spanish political practices — researching news and writing articles on direct democracy initiatives, including referenda, throughout the world.