Advisor Perspective: How to get the most out of summer

Without a doubt, it can be difficult, at times, to listen to someone telling you to do something.  In this case, it is important to know and understand that anything and everything that your advisor tells you is really for your best interest.  Professors here want all of their students and advisees to succeed.

When mapping out your schedule for the duration of your time here at Brandeis, it is imperative that you keep in mind the vast availability of summer courses.  This can help you reach your goals faster and in a more efficient manner.  Each semester should be used to its fullest potential.  And why not maximize the degree of education that you can receive?  The work that you put in will be beneficial in years to come.

To get the most out of summer, meet with your academic advisor to discuss your options and your hypothetical paths that will ultimately lead to your graduation.  Summer is really the perfect opportunity to catch up, get ahead, or to experience new and unique courses.

However, it is important to keep in mind that since the summer modules are much shorter, there needs to be a high level of dedication from you, the student.  The professors will be teaching at a relatively faster speed, but it will definitely be manageable if your priorities are set in the right place.

Overall, pick subjects that you are interested in because there will be a lot of time devoted to learning the material and acing papers, exams, and assignments.

Basic Guide to Courses for Brandeisians

We all know that the Brandeis students are of a completely different breed.  We can all relate to each other for one reason or another – that main reason being our Brandeisian pride.  Here is an unofficial guide to Brandeis courses:

INTERESTS:
First off, high school and college are extremely different. If you found that you did not particularly excel in something during your high school career, do not be turned off from this subject matter in college. Courses are taught differently and who knows, you may be avoiding a course that you would do really well in. It could be a potential major, minor, or career path to take after undergrad. It is also important to keep in mind that as much as your parents may want you to pursue an undergraduate degree in Art History, Biology, or Mathematics, this is your time to shine and find something that you are passionate in. If you choose a major or minor based off of what your parents want you could ultimately be stuck in a career that you do not enjoy.

SHOPPING PERIOD:
For those of you new to Brandeis, you may not fully understand the “Shopping Period” that we offer during the Fall and Spring semesters. The shopping period is self-explanatory, it is a two week period where you can try out different courses and see what you are most interested in or what fits your schedule best. No one wants to be stuck in a course that might drop his or her GPA. Also, why bother taking a course if you know that you won’t enjoy it and get all that you can out of it?

DON’T OVERWHELM YOURSELF:
Upon your arrival it may have appeared that every upperclassman had eight majors and sixteen minors. this is not the case! Some people are fortunate enough to have found different subject matters that interest them and they chose to pursue undergraduate degrees in those various subjects, but it is perfectly fine to only have one major. However, if you do find other courses that spark your interest, then take a few more classes in it. If you find that you can devote the time and energy into declaring a major or minor in it, then talk to your advisor and find out if he or she thinks it would be beneficial to you and your academic resumé.

BUILD A SPREADSHEET:
Organization is key. I have found that what helps me most is designing a spread sheet that clearly distinguishes each semester and the possible courses that are available and would fulfill my major, minor, and/or university requirements.  This way, you don’t find yourself in your eighth semester begging a professor to let you into a class before you didn’t realize that you forgot a major/minor/university requirement somewhere along the way.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF SUMMER SCHOOL:
Granted, in high school, Summer School seemed like a punishment for those who didn’t necessarily do as well as they could/should have in a particular course. In College, the concept of Summer School is completely different. In fact, it might be the students that are more proactive in their studies who enroll in summer courses. People enroll for a multitude of reasons. Maybe you have an internship in Waltham, Boston, or the surrounding area. Perhaps you want to double major and you wouldn’t normally have enough time to complete all of the requirements in your seven or eight semesters at Brandeis. These are just a few of the many reasons why students partake in the Summer Program here at Brandeis University.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog to hear about more Summer School updates as well as Brandeis updates.

Waltham’s Easy Accessibility

Whether you are commuting from across town, across the country, or from across the globe, Waltham is an extremely accessible town.  It is exceptionally easy to maneuver within the town as well.  With the numerous modes of transportation close to campus, you will never feel immobile.

The Commuter Rail is a fast, easy way to get to Boston or Cambridge.  Schedules change with the holidays and weekends, but all schedules are available online.  The train stops at the Brandeis-Roberts station at the south edge of campus, along South Street across from the Epstein Service Center.  Make sure you get there a few minutes before your train is supposed to arrive!  The train goes east to Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and North Station in Boston. In Cambridge, the train stops at the Porter Square station, where connections can be made to the Red Line of Boston’s ‘T’ subway system. In Boston, the train stops at North Station, where you can get on both the Green and Orange Lines of the ‘T’. These have connections to all other lines of the subway system.

Buses are your ideal mode of transportation if you want to go into Boston.  They can take you pretty much anywhere that you would like to go within the city.  The number 553 bus runs by Brandeis, goes through the center of Waltham and into Newton. It’s a great way to get moving for those who do not have a car or for those who do not like to drive as often.

For Zipcar, you only need to be 18+ to join.Members age 18-20 can use a dedicated group of Zipcars that live on campus. Members age 21+ also have access to thousands of Zipcars all around the world. Find cars on or around the Brandeis campus.

For those who need to travel high in the sky to get to the Brandeis campus, don’t fret!  Logan International Airport is incredibly close to the school.  If you ever need to get to or from the airport ask a friend to drive you, split a cab with some friends, or call a cab yourself.

If you plan on hitting the highways, then luckily for y’all Brandeis is located right off of i95 and the Massachusetts Turnpike!  Getting here from New York and neighboring states is fairly easy, but if you want you can always check out a map or GPS.

Speaking of the easy drive from New York, some of you may be interested in reserving a spot on one of the large coach buses that make rounds every day.  You can book a seat for about $20 and you can dropped off in various locations depending on where you need to be in New York.

If you have any suggestions that worked well for you, please feel free to comment on the blog post to help out your fellow Brandeisians.

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