Name: Jamie Fleishman
Graduation Year: 2011
What activities did you do during your sophomore year?
- Much of my sophomore year was dedicated to my musical life playing saxophone with the Brandeis Saxophone Quartet, Wind Ensemble, and Mochila – Brandeis’ unique Arabic-Jazz fusion band.
- I also spent a good amount of time trying helping out Brandeis by working in Admissions as a tour guide and for the Student Union serving on the Student Union Executive Task Forces on Admissions and Communication, and Student Union Dining Services Committee. I also served on the CARS Admissions and Recruiting subcommittee that was established in the spring semester.
- Finally, I was involved in the newly chartered speakers club, Gen Ed Now, the newly-formed club sport - Table Tennis, and the Brandeis Hoot,
How did you navigate decision-making during your sophomore year?
I knew coming into sophomore year that many key decisions were going to be made by the end of the spring semester. And considering I didn't know my major, whether I wanted to study abroad, and how best to manage my time, I knew I had some rough seas ahead.
One of the best ways for me to handle these decisions was to make lists. It's not easy to make decisions when you have a million and one variables constantly making your mind spin. If you make a basic list of pros and cons, that's the best start towards breaking down the walls that make decision-making so difficult. And don't be afraid to use your friends as feedback since so many of them are going through the same situations as you.
Also, utilize the e-mails you receive from Academic Services, study abroad, and student life to help put your timing in perspective. I know the amount of e-mails you receive can be overwhelming. However, reading these e-mails will keep you well up-to-date on the important dates over the course of the year, so that no deadline will sneak up on you.
What campus resources did you utilize during your sophomore year?
After only utilizing Hiatt a small amount my first-year, I found myself in their USDAN office at least every other week last year. Besides taking advantage of Hiatt’s resume review and mock interviews, also look out for great programming they do bringing in professionals to talk about their work. For example, Hiatt had the Brown Bag Lunch Series on Careers in Government in February that brought in employees from the CIA, the US Census Bureau, and the State Department. Staying connected to Hiatt really helped me work to apply for a World-of-Work stipend for my summer internship, which I was very fortunate to receive.
I also made sure to find my way to Academic Services when I was struggling to settle on my major. Again, I never really went to Academic Services freshman year when I knew which courses I wanted to take and was content with taking random courses without figuring out how exactly they fit together. However, going to academic services sophomore allowed me to see my academic career in a different perspective. It helped me see how I could better connect the classes I would take in the next few years to fit my intended major and possible career path.
Although I felt like I began to learn the first steps towards time management, it was only during sophomore year when I truly felt I (at times) mastered balancing academics, extra-curricular activities, and my social life. Though everyone has their own way of managing their time, I would make lots of lists for the day, the week, or sometimes even the semester. Although I didn't always stick to the list exactly, it helped to have your tasks in-front of you. On really crazy days, I would often carry around an index card with my list of to-dos. Again, lists may not work for everyone. But find a routine that works for you, and stick to it.
With that being said, I did feel like I overloaded myself at times. At a school of over-achievers, it's not too hard to do feel the need to get involved in more than you can chew. And coming out of freshman year, you might have three or four activities you've made commitments to without realizing how much of a weight you're putting on yourself. Before starting the year, think about how much time you'll need for work both academically and extra-curricular. And just as importantly, don't discount the importance of making time for friends and for relaxing.
What advice would you give other sophomores?
My biggest piece of advice: Remember that this is not freshman year. That probably sounds inane, however you will realize during sophomore year that your Brandeis life at the beginning of sophomore may be very different from the life you left a few months earlier as a freshman. With a new living situations, new classes, and one year of college under your belt, you will quickly realize how different sophomore year can be. As you acknowledge this, the transition through sophomore year can be both grueling and gratifying.
Either way, if you take advantage of all the opportunities given to you then you will have an amazing sophomore year.