At Sunday’s club fair, the Justice spoke with first-year students about the highs and lows of Orientation and their hopes for the school year. 

“This Is Our House,” a pep rally with Dean of Students Jamele Adams, was an almost universal favorite. Liv Moran ’23 described it as “really really fun and exciting. It was a really good time to meet everyone that was in a similar situation, just a fun time to let go.” Sidney Carim ’23 and Kyla Speizer ’23 also loved “This Is Our House,” telling the Justice that "Jamele just really hyped up the crowd.”

Adian Vinograd '23 and Stephan Zamurovic  ’23 agreed that “This Is Our House” was fun, but also mentioned “Speak About It.” At “Speak About It,” a mandatory event, students watched skits about consent and healthy relationships and then participated in a talkback, per Brandeis’ Orientation app, Guidebook.  Moran described the event as “really impactful,” and Zamurovic added, “When I was in high school we had [“Speak About It”] come to our campus and I thought that was really informative. They actually go through and present skits and stuff like that. It’s better than just listening to someone lecture you about what you’re supposed to and not supposed to do.”

A week in, many of the first-years interviewed revealed that Orientation had helped them make their first college friends. Alex Bazarsky ’23, who had participated in the sustainability preorientation, said, “I made a lot of friends, and it was very helpful when everyone else came to Orientation to already have a few familiar faces.” Carim and Speizer had participated in the same program and felt similarly, sharing that their group had “clicked really well” and were trying to “stay together and hang out.” Retaining those friendships doesn’t feel easy for everyone, though. Ziyi Wu ’23 had also made friends at Orientation but said they all have different class schedules, making it difficult to find time to build these friendships. 

Carim and Speizer discussed being “too busy to be homesick,” though Wu felt the busy schedule of Orientation had its downsides: “I hoped there would be a day before [classes start] where there’s no activities so we could prepare and read the textbook before class started. … Some professors posted assignments and articles for us to read right before, during Orientation we didn’t have enough time for that. So at least I stayed up real late reading the articles.” Bazarsky also felt that “they could have spaced out the presentations of everything that they have for [students] on campus a little bit better,” and Moran wished she had learned more about social life at Brandeis. However, many of the first-years interviewed are excited to begin college.