Orientation brings new friends, calms nerves

Group leaders help Class of 2017 move in, learn the ropes

Photos/Mike Lovett

They sit in small circles on the Great Lawn, outside the Rose Art Museum, in front of the Shapiro Campus Center. Nametags dangle from their necks, and no one is ever far from a student donning a bright yellow T-shirt. They chat with each other. Eager. Excited. A little nervous.

They are members of the Class of 2017, which comprises more than 800 students from 37 states and 26 countries.

After arriving over the weekend in cars filled to capacity, they’ve unpacked, hugged their family goodbye and are ready to begin their Brandeis experience. Their orientation leaders, the ones in the yellow shirts, help them acclimate bit by bit.

“It was hard to say goodbye — I’ve never been away from home before. I’ll miss them,” said Alexis Corrado of Baldwin, N.Y.

Charlie Ramirez had a different reason to be apprehensive about leaving home. A native of San Luis, Ariz., Ramirez has never experienced a real New England winter.

“I’m a little nervous about winter but also pretty excited,” he said with a smile.

New England winters don’t scare Kishah Rajendran — she came to Brandeis from Lincoln, Neb. Rejendran knew Brandeis was different from other schools when she received a postcard in the mail with a picture of a bran muffin and dice: Bran-dice.

“I thought it was so cute and so different from all of the other college stuff I was getting at the time,” Rajendran said. “I started researching it and I love that it was a small school with great professors.”

Aishika Nagarajan, from Boxborough, Mass., also said the school’s reputation for scientific study and top-notch faculty led her here.

“The science programs here are great, especially the biology program,” said Austin Luor, of Taiwan.  

Many members of the Class of 2017 were excited about making new friends in their orientation groups and throughout the upcoming semester. In fact, the warmth many students said they experienced on their visits to campus was one of Brandeis’ biggest draws.

“I just had a better impression of Brandeis than other schools because everyone was really nice,” said Jorden Rabasco of Nashua, N.H.

Missy Kintish, of Beverly, Mass., explained that Brandeis was her ideal: a small liberal arts college near Boston, but in a pretty suburb.

Its culture of social justice brought Aaron Birnbaum, of Merrick, N.Y., to Brandeis.

“I came here because I liked the whole idea of having an impact on the world and making a difference,” he said. “There seem to be a lot of people here with similar goals.”

Jade Lara, of Chelsea, Mass., agreed.

“Other schools focus on academics only for success,” she said. “But Brandeis uses academics to make the world a better place.”

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