Saturday, June 21, 2014

Brandeis, The T, and Menton. And Oh Yeah, Boston Hahhbor!

I would first of all like to note how we were at Brandeis for only two hours but we actually were in Massachusetts for around 15 hours. The extensive travelling on the T after taking the MBTA commuter train to South Station as well as taking a delayed and infrequent outbound commuter train from Porter Square to the university. The main reason for the delay was the construction which decreased the frequency of the trains. We eventually got to the site at around 1:50 pm, 10 minutes early for 2pm appointment for an info session.

We later proceeded to the foyer of the admissions building where we got to choose how we wanted to proceed with learning about Brandeis whether it be with a more enthusiastic information session as well as the tour or a chat with Marina Offner, an admissions officer for reading mainly Texas applications and joining the people in the information session after the first choice. We went with the first choice and then learned quite a bit of elements that I didn't know about and it was intriguing to initially about it- that of the idea where the founders wanted to have social justice at the time where many high-caliber colleges and universities were admitting students off of quotas of many different elements of targeted discrimination, whether it be racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, sexual preference, or ideological. Hearing that some of the main founders was Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and Lenard Bernstein was just so shocking, even if all these founders had a Jewish background. I was mistaken that Brandeis still had a religious affliation but it was that in which many Jewish intellectuals were being marginalized in the field of higher education and considered to do something radical at the time. We also delved into what Brandeis students are like where a significant amount of community service is done (80% graduate with doing 400+ hours), a high involvement in the unique clubs that are founded, a strong love of the liberal arts and even research and that the two categories shouldn't be dueling dualist figures. The exhibitions and photos on display were so moving to see based on what was done, including seeing JFK and MLK gain fame by announcing or coordinating their goals of social justice and future plans given the nature of the university. To know that a university so young and small and achieve recognition among top-caliber schools which have been around for a long time shows the innovative and progressive spirit of the campus. We also delved into what Brandeis looks for in applicants and the same message seems to be tossed around is the philosophy is one I cherish, that of really being honest with yourself and showing that you have an interest and a passion in the subject matter and why Brandeis would help to enrich and propel those interests. Brandeis also looks for the motivated and the avant-garde student as tailored to one's personality. I did read an article about how interest in the school can affect your admission into a particular school (where I read that Lehigh checks if prospective students check their admission status or not) and it was helpful yet important that the admission officer said that interest through visiting and communicating with the school can give you a slight leg up. Also you have a score option and if not, you can send in a graded academic paper as well as SAT II scores.

After that, we proceeded to the tour where we met with two extremely enthusiastic tour guides: Dennis Hermida and Kathy Cooper which ranged from biomedical and pre-health interests to theatre and writing. Dennis was one of the most hilarious tour guides I have ever met with his quirky enthusiasm and animated personality. He is actually from Puerto Rico which was incredibly interesting as many Puerto Ricans are prevalent in the East Coast and he also lived in Providence so I asked him for some Puerto Rican restaurant recommendations in Providence since I have never tried it before! We went around the gorgeous campus on an incline where I was incredibly impressed with the amount of collaboration and sincerity that students have for each other. There was a lot of study spaces as well as very intriguing lab facilities which are shown by how professors add their own distinctive charm and character to the lab, making it on a more personal level so that students can not feel as bashful getting engaged. The rate of 95% of graduates getting jobs within six months also seems astounding to me. This shows that Brandeis has a liberal arts focus and environment where large sections do not compare to many other schools and that it size can actually leads to more intimacy and opportunities which are less obsolete and disconnected. Even students have a large role to run the school by coordinating on the same level as administration. I am glad I visited as it clearly showed whether it would be a beneficial school to apply to and I finally concluded that it was worthwhile!

We later took the T Commuter Rail and the Red Line to Menton which is about a mile away from South Station. I felt significantly under-dressed for such a restaurant but the waitors and waitresses as well as the other dining patrons did not seem to notice. The environment was also incredibly sleek and many great conversations and laughs were exchanged where Alana and I constantly start to make fun of each other, way past the initial stage of formalities and restraint in relationship. I was basically led through one of the most pleasant journeys of my life where I indulged in a prix fixe four-course meal where I can recognize what I ate through the pictures but not in terms of words. I have never eaten around 30 to 50% of the ingredients at the dinner, despite some experience as well as being complimented in my flamboyant vocabulary for describing different foods. I also enjoyed the mini- appetizers, cheeses, and mocktails that we ate. After that, we ventured on over to the bridge close to the Boston Tea Party and the Children's Museum for a nice stroll and some great pictures! Once I can identify the scrumptious food I ate, I will be sure to notify you by updating this!

These are some of the food photos!


  1. Kevin, hopefully you aren't complaining about how much time we spent in Boston and Massachusetts!

    If so, just remember the dinner at Menton and all the people back home who are drooling over the pictures of food posted by your cohort members.