The future is scary. Period. Done. This is not an opinion. It’s a fact. While uncertainty can definitely drive us as humans to push ourselves and work towards an end goal, uncertainty can also be absolutely terrifying. It is terrifically un-fun to go through a day feeling unsure about our future. As college students, we are already so involved with managing academic, extracurricular and social commitments without any real help. Piling additional external stressors that fail to fall into the above categories makes everything so much worse. And that’s exactly what’s going on at Brandeis right now, thanks to two factors: summer internships and housing.
Problem number one
One of life’s most key stressors is finding and keeping a job. As soon as we graduate college, we get launched into the working world for the rest of our lives. SO yeah, finding a job is pretty important. And of course, we’ve been reminded time and time again that we need to do well in high school to get into a big-name college and then do well in college and graduate with honors and lots of majors and of course land lots of internships. Why do we need to do all of this? Because if we don’t complete EVERY SINGLE ONE of these steps, we won’t get a job after graduation and we won’t make any money and without money we can’t buy a house and a car and make a great life for our kids and then we can’t possibly be truly happy and the cycle goes on and on and on. But when every student your age has been taught this lesson, the market for summer internships by nature becomes extraordinarily competitive. And unlike interning during the school year, every student is totally available during the summer so every student wants a job. If you apply to 15 internship programs and get a big fat “NO” from every single one of them and you definitely will not be alone. I personally just got my first big “no,” but I’m hoping this first rejection will make the second, third and fourth progressively easier. For reasons I just explained, if I don’t get a prestigious internship this summer, my life is over.
Moving onto problem number two
Like many schools, Brandeis just dished out upper classmen housing based on the classic and brutal lottery system. Every year, without fail this “flawless” system absolutely destroys everyone’s chances of a totally happy housing situation. Let the drama begin. If you’re getting something good, then your friend got something bad. Oh and let’s not forget the drama that comes with housing. And for one reason or another, you can’t pull him in or he can’t pull you in…blah, blah, blah. I’m not going to bog you down with a hypothetical rant. Below are some very real problems caused by the housing lottery. Situation one: you made a deal to live with someone and they get a good housing number, but your other friend gets a better one and invites you in. Who do you live with? Or try situation two on for size: you only have a lottery number that gets you a four-person housing setup but you made a commitment with five people…who gets left out?
Shall I continue? Nah, you get the point.
So now what…?
Granted, certain lines in this article might sound like a whiney and upset kid ranting. And that isn’t the worst assessment. Yeah, I am ranting a bit. And I do sound a bit privileged and focused on my “first-world problems.” But these problems have been occupying all my recent thoughts and I know for a fact that I am not alone, at least not within Brandeis’ student body. Hopefully these problems will get figured out and blow over soon so we can go back to focusing on more important things. Like learning about the differences between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system; or what the aggregate demand curve is and why it shifts when we draw things on a blackboard; or what Shakespeare was really talking about when he wrote Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be” speech. Yeah, those things.