The Justice Editorial Board would like to extend a warm welcome to the Class of 2025 as they  begin their first year of college and the Class of 2024 as they begin their first year of in-person classes. This board has compiled a list of its favorite survival tips on the Brandeis campus for navigating these new and exciting times. 

Take advantage of free stuff

One of the perks of going to Brandeis is all of the free stuff! From weekly t-shirt giveaways at the Shapiro Campus Center to free boba from club events, the University does a great job of spurring excitement. One of the highlights of the spring semester each year includes the scavenger hunt, where previous prizes have ranged from water bottles to an Apple Watch. Also, there are free shuttles to Boston and Cambridge on the weekends, which helps with socializing with other students in the Boston area. And, you have free admission to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts as a Brandeis student, so definitely check that out!

Eat fruits and vegetables

Having to manage your own eating schedule can be difficult, so here’s a friendly reminder to eat your fruits and vegetables! The dining halls tend to have a consistent assortment of apples, melons and grapes, as well as a fresh salad bar, but if you’re looking for something else, the Hoot Market usually has other healthy options. And as a last resort, there’s a free shuttle to the Market Basket in Waltham where you can do some grocery shopping. As the semester continues, remember to take care of your eating habits! 

Find your secret spot

While living with roommates can be a great social experience, there are moments when you might want some privacy. Taking the time to find a “secret spot” can be a fun way to explore the campus and enjoy the outdoors whenever the weather is nice. A few spots include the garden behind the International Business School, Fellows Garden and the courtyard in front of Skyline Residence Hall. If you like the indoors, explore buildings like the Mandel Center for the Humanities, the Farber Library, the Shapiro Science Center or other sites that pique your interest! 

Don’t be afraid to say no

For anyone at the Involvement Fair this past Sunday, you’ll notice that Brandeis has no dearth of extracurricular activities for students to choose from. Whether you’re looking to make friends, gain academic or professional enrichment, or follow your passions, joining a club or two is a great place to get started. However, please heed our warning: do not overextend yourself. 

With so many exciting opportunities, it can be tempting to say yes to everything. But if you commit yourself to too many activities on top of school, work and other responsibilities, you may find it difficult to enjoy any of them. Before you commit to something, ask yourself: do I have the time to do this?

Don’t let FOMO — fear of missing out — get to you

It is critical to balance your social and academic schedules. To do this, staying organized can be advantageous. Make lists, make use of a mobile or paper calendar and recognize that you might not be able to get everything done in one day. Opportunities in college are plentiful, so if you miss something one week, chances are that event or another one like it might be happening the next. 

Prioritize your health

After a difficult past year, we’ve learned how important it is to prioritize mental health. Don’t hesitate to reach out to others and make use of campus resources. The Brandeis community fosters a welcoming and open environment where students and faculty are eager to help one another. 

Don’t compare your college experience to others’

Finally, in a time fraught with constant change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to do your best to avoid comparing your college experience to others’. Your time at Brandeis may not resemble your older siblings’ experiences, and it may not look anything like it does in the movies. Every college experience is different, but as long as you stay open to change and stay positive, Brandeis can be a place where you grow, learn and make lifelong connections.