Man in plaid shirt smiling at camera

Doug Nevins BA ’11, MPP ’21

I am writing this blog post during my final shift in the Admissions office before I graduate (fingers crossed!) from the Heller School. It is hard to believe that my two and a half years at Heller (and several more than that at Brandeis) are coming to an end. I’ve been feeling nostalgic today as I sent my last email from the Heller Admissions account, carried my last stack of prospective student brochures to the mail center, and right now, as I write my last blog post.

It truly has been a pleasure working with applicants to Heller. I’ve enjoyed every interview, every phone call, ever student panel I’ve moderated, and every admitted student event I’ve helped out with either in person or on Zoom. It really is inspiring how committed Heller applicants are to the values of social justice and social change which constitute the mission of this institution, and it’s always exciting to meet an applicant who connects with that mission. I’ve really enjoyed playing a small role in the application process for so many great Heller students.

If you, prospective students reading this, ultimately enroll at Heller, I hope that you experience the sense of warmth and community that I have felt in my time on campus. I hope that you have the chance to say hello to graduate assistants here at the admissions desk, and, if you enjoyed speaking with us during the application process, considering applying to be a graduate assistant yourself!

I hope that you enjoy some evenings spent with friends in the Zinner forum or an empty classroom, completing a big assignment as the building grows quiet, snacking on junk food from the C Store or takeout from Prime Deli or Tree Top Thai. As stressed out as some of those big assignments have made me, what I remember most is the sense of comradery I’ve shared with classmates as we gather together to work hard to meet a deadline – whether on campus or on Zoom.

I hope that you take advantage, at Heller, or wherever you attend grad school, of the many resources available to you, and meet as many people as possible. I wouldn’t say I have many regrets from my time at Heller, but I particularly do not regret the times that I’ve said yes to an opportunity, or volunteered, even if I was worried I wouldn’t have enough time. The only thing I would do differently is to reach out even sooner to people – faculty, peers, alums – whose experiences and expertise are of interest to me. I hope that you are able to have the on-campus graduate school experience, in order to meet as many people, and enjoy as many spontaneous conversations and chance encounters, as possible.

Because we are in New England, it is already dark here at 4:42, as I finish writing this blog post. I’ve watched the sunlight fade through the tall windows in the Zinner forum, directly in front of me, but the building is still illuminated, and a few conversations are still audible even as most people have gone home for the day. My walk to my car tonight will feel bittersweet, but I only have so much time for sentimentality as I still have several assignments to complete! I have a feeling that when those have been turned in, and I’m able to chill at home with a holiday movie and relax, that’s when the nostalgia will really hit me!