We are living in a politically divided and polarized United States. Conservative-minded students often complain that their views are marginalized at our liberal campus. In conservative regions, I know liberals who are afraid to make their political views known for fear of pushback and retaliation.
This past semester, my third as a Brandeis chaplain, I have had the honor of teaching “First Year Experience: Spirit, Mind, and Body,” a class that supports first-year students as they begin their first semesters of college. In our second class session, this group of driven and thoughtful first-years shared with one another their experiences of transitioning to college. They talked about learning to share space with roommates, missing home, balancing their and their families’ expectations, the pressure to perform and, of course, how to do all this while getting their homework done! I was reminded during our conversation that this fall season, a season of endings and beginnings, is a chaotic one, not only for first-years, but for all students, and for staff and faculty as well.