As the Class of 2014 takes off their caps and gowns, each member of the graduating class leaves the school with unique experiences and personal understandings of what it means to be a Brandeis student. It is important and meaningful to hear from individuals about what truly characterizes the university. In your own words, what is unique about a Brandeis education that cannot be found anywhere else?

Andre Tran '14

After talking to friends from other colleges, I realize that one unique aspect of my Brandeis education is that it’s so easy to become familiar with our faculty. Many professors, even those who teach large classes, want to know their students and all it takes is the courage to introduce one’s self. Whether it’s taking them out for lunch, going to office hours, or talking to them after class if your professor has time they are more than happy to have a chat or discussion. This ease of creating a relationship can also lead to opportunities such as working in their lab or becoming their teaching assistant. I was lucky enough to experience this myself becoming a Biology Lab Teaching Assistant for Dr. Kosinski-Collins. Really, your Brandeis education is what you make of it and I made the most of it.

Andre Tran ’14 was a Class of 2014 Senator in the Student Union.

Emma Lieberman '14

The thing that’s so special about a Brandeis education is the way that all of the faculty care so much about what they’re teaching, at every level. Obviously, professors who teach to advanced students will care about what they’re discussing with people they know are dedicated. But even in introductory courses, I’ve never had an instructor who was bored and couldn’t be bothered to deal with the class. Every teacher has “geeked out” about their field of study to us, and it’s a big part of what draws us in and makes us care about it as well. It’s what really makes the liberal arts education work here, because as we’re taught a wide variety of subjects by world-class professors, we’re also taught why they’re so important and why we ought to study them, even if they’re not what we plan to pursue in our post-collegiate life.

Emma Lieberman ’14 was a Theater Arts major who wrote, produced and starred in the one-woman play My Morning in March.

Jack Hait '14

What is unique about Brandeis? Brandeis is the place where each individual can grow into his or her own-self, and be recognized and appreciated for exactly that. Brandeis is certainly a small school, but it is only small in the best of senses: your professors are your mentors, your hands are in most of the extracurriculars events that create the campus culture and your classmates are your residence mates who are also your friends. It is a school whose intimate and powerful relationships empower each student to do great things—and a school that recognizes those great things and appreciates the students who accomplished them. 

Jack Hait was a senior student representative on the Board of Trustees.

Phil Gallagher '14

As a Jewish student, I always valued the strength and diversity of Jewish life at Brandeis.  Few other schools have established clubs representing each of the four main denominations of American Judaism: Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Orthodox.  We have a Hillel and a Chabad, both extraordinarily active.  Furthermore, Brandeis is host to Kehillat Sha’ar, a new egalitarian prayer group created and operated entirely by students, demonstrating the drive that Brandeis students have to take ownership of their own Jewish experiences.  Having this diversity matters because it gives Jewish students the opportunity to contextualize their own religious upbringing within the larger mosaic of American Judaism and find a religious practice that is right for them. I’ve met students who enter Brandeis with little Jewish background and decide to practice Orthodox Judaism, while some traditional students find that egalitarian services better suit their interests. Brandeis offers a comprehensive experience to Jewish students who seek to understand the varieties of their religion, and it often results in tremendous personal growth.  

Phil Gallagher ’14 was the deputy editor of the Justice.