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Brandeis University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1949 | Waltham, MA

Views on the News: Midterm season and students’ mental health

For college students across the nation, October marks the beginning of midterm season — a period marked by increased workload and a plummet in students’ mental health. During this time, students experience a range of emotions from high stress to anxiety. Is there a culture at Brandeis that promotes overworking and excessive studying?  How can students effectively manage midterm stressors, and are there adequate resources at Brandeis to support students during this time?  

Technological burnout: the dangers of obsessive innovation

I think that the term “fried brain” might be a real concept, even possibly an understatement, and I’m not so sure my workload is the sole culprit anymore. In the midst of a writer’s block-inspired-work-pause yesterday, I grew frustrated at the way my Kindle, laptop and phone screen all surrounded me in some seamless, almost sneering electronic bridge between me and my dream of a non-internet, anti-electronic reprieve. As if in laughter at my online academic bubble, my phone and computer both lit up on cue ten minutes before my next appointment. All I could do was put my head on the table, dreading the inevitable energy zap, my blood pressure rising. I have been sleep-deprived for days, and being relegated to Zoom meetings has yet again hastened my burnout. I am very aware that a significant amount of my stress stems from my habit of saying yes to almost every opportunity that comes my way— a habit I surely need to work on. 

Rest and resistance: sleeping as a revolutionary act

“Exhaustion is not okay,” my mentor said to me as I described another brutal week of struggling to balance all of my academic, social and work-related commitments. As midterm season descended upon Brandeis, I accepted that the level of exhaustion and stress I was experiencing prior was child’s play compared to the marathon of essays, exams, emails and books I would have to finish within two weeks. I was prepared to endure the late nights, long days and short break times until I met with my mentor a couple of weeks ago, where she told me, “exhaustion is not okay.” This was not the most remarkable piece of advice I ever received, but it was enough to snap me awake to the realization that the same metric I was using to measure my value—my productivity—only lowered me deeper into a stress-laden, sleep-deprived hole.  

Views on the News: Comedy and Social Responsibility

Critics and fans alike have much to say on Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special, “The Closer.” Netflix is facing pushback, including a planned walkout organized by its own employees, one of whom Netflix suspended in the process. But Chappelle is far from the only performer in recent years to use language that is perceived as demeaning to a particular group of people in the name of comedy and to receive a platform to do so.  When and how does comedy toe the line between humor and violence or bullying? Do comics have any social responsibility to fulfill on the stage? Do media, television and streaming companies have any social responsibility in promoting and funding content? 

Experiencing autumn and college life post-pandemic

After a year of virtual college due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I, a sophomore, returned to the Brandeis campus feeling like a first-year. The freshness of real college life soon faded away with the academic and social stresses of a new environment striking me, and the depressing cold of New England approached at the same time. 

The inaccessibility of the ballot box for people of color

During the 2020 primary elections, my eyes were fixated on whatever electronic device was in front of me. I anxiously watched as news anchors mulled over the predictions while the nation’s map was checkered with an array of blue and red. When the time came, my parents headed to the polls to cast their votes. They made participating in this democratic process look easy, accessible and clean-cut. However, over the past few years as more and more voter suppression laws target vulnerable communities, it has become evident that our current voting system does not equally represent America’s population. What systematic practices encourage this discrimation and what can be done to stop it? 

Views on the News: National Domestic Abuse Awareness Month

Throughout the U.S., cases of domestic violence have increased across genders and sexual orientations, and within LGBTQIA+ communities they remain a particular threat. In addition to physical and verbal abuse, LGBTQIA+ survivors of domestic violence often face threats of being ‘outed,’ having increased economic and housing risks as a result of domestic violence and other unique challenges.  What can individuals, campuses, communities and/or policy leaders do to better support survivors of violence, or to foster healthier and more inclusive communities for all? Is there room at Brandeis for improvement of services and support systems, or a need for increased education to combat domestic and identity-based violence? 

Editorial: Acknowledging Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Content warning: this editorial discusses general mentions of  domestic violence and sexual assault. This October marks the 40th year of observing national Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Justice Editorial Board would like to recognize the importance of this issue by discussing recent abuse and sexual violence incidents on other college campuses, highlighting the work and support systems of on-campus organizations and providing a list of resources for Brandeis community members who have or are experiencing domestic violence or abuse of any kind. 

Reckoning with post-pandemic high school nostalgia

I miss high school. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write in my entire lifetime. Believe me, I was ecstatic to graduate. I practically skipped across the stage with my diploma in hand. But there is a part of me, now on my own at college, that misses the morning 8:20 bell and our school announcement detailing a weird meat “surprise” for lunch that was definitely last week’s leftovers. I dreaded walking up the three flights of stairs to get to my first class of the day but now I think back to it with fondness. High school came and went and as I spent over a year of it inside my home, begrudgingly logging into Google Classroom and treating every class like it was a personal podcast.  

Views on the News: Indigenous Peoples Day

Oct. 11, 2021 marks Indigenous Peoples Day, a time when many recognize and honor the history, heritage and experiences of Indigenous and Native American populations. As early as 1990 and in recognition of the past and ongoing genocide experienced by these communities at the hands of colonists such as Christopher Columbus and other non-Indigenous populations, Indigenous activists around the world have been pressing states and countries to adopt the commemoration’s title change in honor of these communities and the realities of their lived experiences. To this day, 36 U.S. states still do not recognize Indigenous Peoples Day as an official holiday, including Massachusetts.  How will you spend this day? What is the significance of commemorating this day in Massachusetts, and/or as a nation as a whole (in the United States or otherwise)? The University recognizes the day and staff do not work in observance, but faculty and students still attend classes. Should the University be closed on this day in commemoration?

Editorial: Campus transportation needs improvement

With students back on campus after a year of mostly online classes, and with the colder months approaching, having a reliable transportation system around campus and beyond is crucial. Since the start of the semester, all of the transportation services available to students from before the pandemic have returned, along with their accessibility and timeliness issues.  

The age of autumn: A celebration of getting older

Every year, autumn starts on my birthday. 29 big ones this time around. Things feel more or less the same. They also feel different. Despite the dawning of a pandemic, 28  felt important in other, more clearly positive ways. Like the beginning of a new era, it felt like some large but beneficial change I am yet to fully understand. 29 was a bit more of a shock to the system, its positivity less clear. It felt quick. It came fast. Whether or not it came “too” fast is up to interpretation, and maybe that is the point. Younger ones may roll their eyes at yet another cynical millennial, while older individuals will tell you 29 means “nothing” in terms of experience. Many of them perceive their age as having wed far more wisdom to their lives than your relatively shorter 29 years of life. 

Reviving small talk and casual friendships post-pandemic

I used to hate small talk — the awkward silences as my eyes connected with someone else’s and we both struggled to fill the space with fragmented sentences about the weather, our weekends and the workload we endured the past week. I would try not to be rude as my mind drifted off elsewhere, anywhere really to help me escape the repetitive monotony of the small talk I experienced during my first year at Brandeis. The constant mini-biographical questions of, “What is your name?” “What year are you?” “What is your major?” and, “What are your plans for the future?” bored me to death. At one point I considered wearing a name tag with answers to all of these questions, so I wouldn’t have to sound like a broken record repeating words that appeared so separate from me for what seemed like the 100th time. 

Views on the News: Climate Change and Climate Justice

Worldwide, people continue to wrestle with the ongoing impacts of climate change. The first “Fridays for Future” global climate strike of the year took place this past Friday, Sept. 24, with youth leaders at the helm. At the same time, policymakers and businesses continue to fund expansive oilfield extractions and other endeavors with high risks to the health of the environment. Others continue to deny the existence of climate change altogether. According to a recent study from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, today’s toddlers “will live through three times as many climate disasters as their grandparents.”  How do you think climate change and the ongoing debates surrounding it will continue to impact the behavior, character and lives of future generations? Do you think there is a feasible solution to climate change as we stand now? Is there one in which individuals, communities, leaders and nations can realistically work together to nurture and prioritize climate health?

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