Midyear-entering students move into The Village

Deans and mentors offer welcomes, give advice

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As families pulled up to The Village in packed minivans Friday morning, they were met with propped doors, blasting music and throngs of volunteers waiting to help.

Brandeis welcomed about 160 midyear and transfer students to campus with the assistance of orientation leaders, also known as midyear mentors, who helped unfasten suitcases from roofs, and heft bags and electronics up the stairs to students' rooms.

Eli Siegel of Northampton, Mass., said he didn't know what to expect when he arrived, but was struck by the friendliness of everyone he met.

"Everything went really smoothly and there were so many people to help point us in the right direction," Siegel said, as his parents helped him unpack. As if on cue, his CA stopped by seconds later to see if Siegel or his parents had any questions.

Lakis Theoharis of Acton, Mass., took a break in a common area as his daughter, Jackie, and her roommate Emily Lai of Nashua, N.H., settled in.

"All the kids who carried up her things up were so helpful," he said. "The more information we get [about Brandeis] the more it convinces us that this was the best choice for her."

As Chris Van Orden of Sussex, N.J., and his mom put sheets on his bed, they said they were pleasantly surprised how well move-in went despite the snow and slush around campus.

"Do you like snow?" asked Adam Jaffe, dean of arts and sciences, when he spoke to families at a welcome event Friday afternoon. "If not, you better start working on it."

Amid the buzz of introductions and energy in a packed Levin Ballroom, students received advice from Jaffe, Dean of Academic Services Kim Godsoe and Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer before saying goodbye to their parents.

Jaffe told students that while they may think they know why they were offered admission -- good grades, high SAT scores -- Brandeis chooses students who will take an active role in the school community.

"We choose students who we think are engaged in their own education and own it," he said. "Don't assume that the faculty doesn't want to be bothered by you. Quite the contrary. They are here because they like people like you."

Godsoe also instructed students to explore their interests and find their genius.

"Not someone else's genius, not your roommate's genius -- your genius," she said. "Your path will be unlike anyone else's path. Don't concern yourself with careers. Don't concern yourself with practicality."

Sawyer said that midyear and transfer students come to campus with a "maturity and determination" to succeed. As new students, they all begin their Brandeis experience with a clean slate.

"Everything starts right now," Sawyer said. "Good luck to you all."

Orientation for midyear and transfer students will continue throughout the week. Contact New Student Orientation with any questions or concerns at (781) 736-5074 or orientation@brandeis.edu.

Categories: Student Life

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