I thought I would be happy to return to Brandeis this fall. But as I drove to Theater Lot to check in and collect my dorm keys, the sinking feeling I had been experiencing all summer intensified. As the Department of Community Living student workers ushered cars through Theater Lot, many of them excited to see friends after a year and a half of virtual learning, I was caught in a state of disbelief. I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, this is happening. Everything is in person again, with limited to no restrictions.” The reality of living on campus during a pandemic hit me as one of the DCL staff members handed me my room key and informed me that if I did not get tested by 4 pm, I would have to quarantine myself for two days, whether or not I tested positive for COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Trump was acquitted of all the impeachment charges leveled against him. While this does not come as a shock, it certainly reflects the current value system the American government strives to uphold. Trump’s first term as president has challenged concepts of justice and equality in American society, and his impeachment acquittal is no exception. If the Republican-controlled Senate refuses to punish a man who has continuously abused his power as president, how can the American people rest knowing that the rights currently enjoyed are not at risk of being taken away? This fear is especially true for African American voters who celebrated the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment on Monday, Feb 3. This anniversary is made even more significant not only by the current state of American democracy, but also by the fast-approaching general election
If you were asked to describe a drug addict, what would you say? Would adjectives such as pale, skinny, desperate, uncontrollable, volatile and unpredictable cross your mind? Would you dare to expand your imagination and envision a drug addict who also has a family, a marriage, an education and a job? The single image of drug addicts that society has perpetuated does not always mirror the reality of addiction. Drug addiction affects individuals of every race, gender and socioeconomic status. Once it is clearly understood that drug addicts range in appearance, gender and wealth, available treatments and methods should also illustrate that point.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a lecture when a professor suddenly asked us,“Why are you here?” The first answer that crossed my mind was the very generic “to get an education so that I can find a job” type of response. However, it wasn’t until intensely thinking about this question that I began to realize that going to college is much more than a means to an end. In the chaos of confirming whether or not one has all the necessary credits in order to graduate, I believe college students (myself included) sometimes forget that the world is bigger than the campus they walk on, and the issues that seem to only affect the outside world continue to leak into campus life. Although a university symbolizes higher education, it is not immune to the many issues American society faces.
What does it mean to be diverse in 2019? The word has slowly integrated itself into conversations regarding the workplace and university populace. However, are the people involved in these conversations genuinely concerned with the homogeneous environment workplaces and universities have created, or rather how they will be perceived in this tumultuous time in American society?
It’s been nearly two months since I started school at Brandeis. In my conversations with numerous people on campus, I began to discover a pattern among students’ majors. I cannot count how many times I have asked an individual about their interests and am greeted with the same series of responses: “Biology,” “pre-med,” “HSSP” or some other STEM-related field. I understand that Brandeis is a research institution geared towards producing the best results within each of its research labs, but I thought that in a big university such as Brandeis there would be more diversity among what students are studying. It seems as if the more people are geared towards the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math majors and that those interested in humanities fields are dwindling.
We’re living in a time when obtaining a college degree has never been more valuable, and has also never been more expensive. The act of being admitted to the nation’s top universities has turned into a bloodbath between high school students from all across the nation. Millions of students nationwide are asking themselves the same question, “How can I make myself standout from my peers?” Being a recent high school graduate myself, I am fully aware of the competitive nature of my generation. Just a few months ago I was one of those students vying for a spot at one of the many elite institutions.
The democratic liberties experienced in the United States are easy to take for granted. Many Americans are not afraid to voice their opinions regarding the state of the government, the actions of the president, or new legislation that is expected to pass. After all, our current society was formed through the fiery personalities that resulted in long lasting change. These days, the idea of physical protests have transformed into popular Twitter rants. Nevertheless, we aren’t afraid of being threatened or arrested if we criticize the actions of the government. It’s in both our blood and our constitution; but for those currently living in mainland China and Hong Kong, speaking up is equivalent to risking your life.