Happy Valentine’s Day!

As we find ourselves anxiety ridden from all of the midterms and papers that are due just a few days before the February break, we also find ourselves wondering what to do on this lovely Tuesday.  Why is this Tuesday so LOVE-ly?  Well… it’s Valentine’s Day!  For all of the lovers out there today, here is another Unofficial Brandeis Guide to Valentine’s Day.

Boys, this is your holiday to step it up.  Treat your girlfriend to SOMETHING.  There are so many things to do in the area, and if you want to keep it within your budget you can always make a quick stop to Hannaford, the BranVan goes right there!  Hannaford is really your one-stop-shop with flowers, chocolates, and stocked shelves with endless possibilities.

However, you know your relationship better than I do.  If your Valentine likes to keep things more casual, then surprise him or her with a movie and a bottle of champagne (sparkling cider for those under 21). And, who doesn’t like chocolates (points them!)?  If you forgot to buy flowers, you can always pick up balloons in the game room in Lower Usdan.

If you aren’t really feeling the whole movie and champagne idea, then check out the Stein.  They have great prices and can be paid using a meal plan!  We all know at least one person who says that their parents met/dated here.  Who’s to say that they didn’t go to the Stein back in the day?  Actually, who’s to say that the Stein was even around then?  Regardless, it’s definitely an option.

Oh wait, what about Boston!?  Boston is only a train ride away.  I know that I am personally guilty of not using the Commuter Rail as often as I could or should, but Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to venture off to the Middle-Sized Apple (Sorry, I’m a New Yorker).  Unfortunately, restaurants tend to be overbooked and prices are much more expensive knowing that their demands will be met.  Maybe make a whole evening out of it.  Walk around, but bundle up!

If Boston seems a little bit out of reach, then book two spots on the BranVan and head over to Marcellino (11 Cooper Street)!  This hidden gem is around the corner from Skellig.  It is an amazing Ristorante Italiano with so many choices on the menu, every one of them being just as delicious as the last.

Ladies, kick back and enjoy the rest of the day.  If you feel the need to do something for your man, you can make a quick run to Natick and pick up some cologne.  I would strongly recommend Bleu de Chanel, Burberry Touch, or Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme.  If you want to do something a little bit more personal, think about your boo’s interests.  Does he like music festivals?  Get him concert tickets or neon apparel. Does he like big teddy bears? Who doesn’t?!  Tip: Walgreens has many different sizes, all within budget!  If you want to put on your Julia Child apron, you can definitely bake some cookies.  Try something new, like a peanut butter heart on top of a sugar cookie.  It’s fun, creative, and it’ll make your heart melt (literally, let your cookies cool slightly before doing this!).

Better luck next time!
This is addressed to both of you!  Everyone loves cupcakes.  There’s no better way to anyone’s heart that a scrumptious Crumb’s Cupcake.  For next year, look into getting the 12-pack Gourmet Taste Pack or the 6-pack Signature Collection.

Most importantly:
Today should not be the only special day for you and your partner.  Be sure to always be nice, never start fights, and throw in a few surprises throughout the year.  It’s the perfect way to keep your relationship fun and exciting.  Enjoy the rest of your day and be safe!

Biology Curriculum Change

Attention Prospective Biology majors:

As many of you know, Biology is of one of the largest majors that is offered at Brandeis University.  The graduate school acceptance rates are so incredible that they attract “biophiliacs” from all over the world, literally.  Upon your arrival at Brandeis, you can immediately spot all of the Bio majors, usually by their heavy textbooks, 100 Carbonless Duplicate Paged Laboratory notebooks, and TI-80+ calculators.  These students came here for an understanding of fundamental and current biological knowledge in various areas, and nothing will stand in their way.

Some of you might be s little intimidated by the General Chemistry prerequisite, but fear not, Brandeis has adapted to the needs of its students and has provided alternatives!  Let’s just to take a few steps backwards, Biology is broken up into two sub sections, a bachelor’s degree of Arts and a bachelor’s degree of Science.  Both appear to require a year of General Chemistry before students decide to enroll in basic Biology courses.  Chemistry provides the foundation of Biology; however, if you have found that Chemistry is really not your forté, then read the following to learn how you can still get that degree in Biology:

1. Before you make any rash decisions, be sure to give Chemistry a chance during the shopping period.  It will definitely be helpful to sit in a Brandeis science class before embarking on more advanced courses.  If you seem to be leaning more towards dropping the course at the end of the shopping period, perhaps shop BIOL 15B Human Implications as well.

2.  If after the shopping period you feel that Chemistry is not for you, then talk to the professor and advisor to a second and third opinion.  The BIOL 15B course that was just mentioned is just one alternative for students that still want to pursue the Biology major.  It still satisfies the BIOL 22A/B prerequisite and you learn a lot on an introductory level.

3.  Perhaps you have taken AP Chemistry and/or AP Biology in high school, or a similar course, and you feel very confident in your science skills, then you should meet with your advisor and see what he or she thinks is the next best move for you.  Although the majority of students that enroll in BIOL 22A/B are sophomores, the course is open to exceptionally well-prepared first-year students.

After one has satisfied the core requirements for this major, students have the opportunity to pursue a specific field of interest or can continue to learn about the different biological courses and concepts that Brandeis has to offer.  In addition to the exceptional courses, these students also reserve the opportunity to participate in laboratory research and attend departmental colloquia.

Upon graduation, these Brandeis biology majors have many doors that open for them.  Depending on the courses that were taken and the individual’s interests, the student could pursue his or her graduate level education in dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, and allied health professions.  The student can also elect to join the work force as a biological researcher.   Others may choose to combine their other majors and/or minors to go in a completely different direction post-undergrad like law school, business, or education.  The possibilities are endless.  For more information, please visit the Biology University Bulletin.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For those interested in furthering their education in graduate studies of medicine, dentistry, and/or veterinary medicine, be sure to research their requirements or recommended requirements before you decide to not take General Chemistry.  Many of these schools strongly recommend some sort of chemistry background as it will be helpful in your future studies.

If you want to get a jumpstart on your Biology major requirements, be sure to keep an eye out for Summer 2012 Courses!

Physical Education Requirements

Just a little FYI, Brandeis requires two semesters of physical education.  There are THREE ways of satisfying this requirement:

  1. Taking two gym classes.  There is an extremely large variety of courses that are available (about 35) and it is a great way to meet new people, stay fit, and satisfy Brandeis requirements.  These courses are noncredit activities.  Basically, go to the class and you will be on your way to fulfilling the requirements.
  2. Participate in a Brandeis varsity team for two semesters.   For those who are more on the athletic side of the spectrum, then go for it!  Try out for a team and see what happens.
  3. The third and seemingly most common way to fulfill these two physical education requirements is to pass the PE test at the beginning of each semester.  This fitness test must be taken within your first four semesters at the university.

As someone who placed out of both PE Requirements first semester of sophomore year, I cannot emphasize this enough, take the test as soon as possible!

What is the Fitness Test?  It includes a beep test to measure endurance, a sit-and-reach test to measure flexibility, a sit-up test and a plank test (similar to push-ups) to test core strength.

When is it offered? For Spring 2012, the PE test has already passed, but it is usually offered before classes begin.  Be sure to check your email or the Brandeis University Athletics Page for updates.  Mark it on your calendar so another opportunity to place out does not pass you by.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses... Don’t make them!  I completely understand the “Oh, I’ll do it next semester” or “I still have two semesters left to take it,” but you never know how you will be feeling about the test that day, so just get your gym clothes on, wear your sneakers, and get to Gosman. The sooner you take the exam, the sooner the anxiety is gone.

What happens if I don’t place out of either?  Do I really have to take TWO gym classes? We all know how busy Brandeis students are, it turns out that you can place out of one credit by getting CPR certified!  It looks great on your resumé, especially for those involved in child-care, and it is such a good skill to have.

Brandeis Gem:
THA 130a – Suzuki

This is an experiential learning course. Prerequisite: THA 2a or permission of the instructor. Counts as one activity course toward the physical education requirement. Undergraduates may repeat this course twice for credit, once with each instructor.
Developed by the Japanese theater artist Tadashi Suzuki, the Suzuki method of acting training develops physical strength, stamina, and agility while engaging the imagination and will of the actor. Through a series of walks, statues, and marches, students are taught to breathe and move from the core of their bodies. This training allows students to act from physical impulse, resulting in a deep and personal experience of language and the world of play. Usually offered every semester by Mr. Hill and Ms. Krstansky.

Okay… and?  For those of you who haven’t heard about this course, you may be wondering why it is such a great course to enroll in.  It satisfies not one, but THREE university requirements (Creative Arts, Nonwestern, and PE)!  Preference is usually given to those who are involved in theatre, but the course is open to anyone.  

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” -Elle Woods

Sometimes our health and well being gets away from us due to academics, but it’s important to keep active, keep healthy, and keep happy!  Enjoy the rest of your semester and don’t forget to take your fitness tests!


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