October 21, 2017

Meet Tenri Arianna Sjamsu: A thank you letter from NJ graduate

ariannaDear BNC Members,

Whenever anyone asks me if I was happy at Brandeis, my answer is always “it was the best decision I have ever made.” I cannot thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to attend an institution like Brandeis. Without your generosity, I would not be part of the incredible family I have found here.

As a high school senior, I was very unsure with what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. I applied to many different schools, fully convinced that I would fit in perfectly at each one. When the acceptances came and I was faced with the difficult decision of choosing where to matriculate, I was fortunate enough to spend a night at Brandeis’ CommUNITY event. CommUNITY managed to fit in the entire feeling of the Brandeis community in a single weekend. I slept on the floor. I used a communal bathroom. I ate cafeteria food. Yet, I loved every minute. Brandeis was the only school that felt like home. I knew Brandeis wouldn’t solely identify me by my UNET ID – I was a person who mattered.

Although the sense of community here was what convinced me to attend, I was initially drawn in by the fantastic academics. This May, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major in Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP) and Biology as well as a minor in Chemistry. Before arriving, I thought I solely wanted to study the biological sciences. However, once I heard about the highly interdisciplinary HSSP major, I realized that I could pursue a variety of my interests all while gaining some understanding of a field I hope to be a part of one day.

One of my favorite classes has been American Healthcare with Professor Stuart Altman. Professor Altman is not only one of the most knowledgeable experts on the American Healthcare system, but he is also a phenomenal story teller. In many cases, we forget that professors weren’t only professors, but Professor Altman’s anecdotes are hard to forget.

While I loved taking HSSP and biology classes, some of the best classes I have taken have been outside of my major requirements. Last semester I took a fantastic introductory sculpture course taught by Professor Tory Fair. I am far from an artist, but Professor Fair encouraged everyone to find art in whatever we created. It was the most unique hands-on experience I have had here, and if I could, I would love to take more sculpture classes in the future.

Beyond the classroom, I kept myself busy with my role as a Community Advisor (CA) as well as other clubs and extra-curricular activities. While most schools would call them Resident Assistants, Brandeis’ actively encourages student leaders to build communities within the residence halls. I was fortunate enough to be a CA for a bright group of students who were part of the Leadership in Health and Medicine Leader-Scholar Community. My residents all shared a common interest in the topic of Health and Medicine. They participate in a weekly class where they meet guest professors and, as it is an experiential learning course, are in the process of creating projects related to their personal interests.

I am constantly inspired by the amount of care and energy my residents put into everything they do, and although I am intended to be their mentor, I find as though I learn just as much from them. Of course, being a CA is a team effort. I am grateful to have served as Head-CA for North Quad and then again as a Head-CA for the Ziv and Ridgewood Quads this past year. Both of my staffs have consistently amazed me with their brilliance, strength, and sense of humor. I could not have asked for a better group of people to work alongside.

In addition to being a CA, I have been involved in a variety of activities around campus. I had the privilege of serving on the core committee for the annual Brandeis Kindness Day. Kindness Day is a day dedicated to bringing out the good in ourselves and one another. We planned events all over campus, coordinated with clubs and departments, and encouraged Brandeis to spend a day going out of their way to be kind to one another. Brandeis students are already some of the nicest folks around, so Kindness Day serves to accentuate that. I was also active in Taekwondo club, an Office Assistant for the Department of Community Living, a Teaching Assistant for the Introductory Biology Labs and a host for Admissions.

Being at Brandeis has given me the opportunity for so much personal growth. It is because I matter here, that I strive to be a positive influence within this family. In the future, I would love to become a Primary Care Physician. I know my experiences at Brandeis will only make that dream more of a reality. Thank you for giving me the chance to become the best version of myself. I hope to honor the generosity of the BNC by continuing to learn, achieve, and thrive.

With gratitude,
Tenri Arianna Sjamsu

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