Marcus smiling at the camera while standing outside with a residence hall in the background

By Marcus S. ’25

More than 4,000 students attended high school with me — double the maximum capacity the school could handle. Just walk down the hallway of any of the four floors and you were likely to meet someone you'd never seen before. 

This was perfect for me, as I made it a habit to befriend most of the students and form good relationships with teachers. Why? I grew up believing that there is immense strength in community and that it is possible to craft your own community in any space. Within a community, everyone can support and reinforce one another, so I have always tried to bring community to as many people as possible. That's why I was very excited to come to Brandeis for college.

Teeming with people on a small campus, Brandeis offers the same opportunities to encounter so many different people, professors and places. Whether you find yourself in a club, volunteering or simply hanging out in your dorm lounge, there are infinite opportunities to find community, which has made Brandeis seem like home for me.

With that in mind, I am happy to offer a glimpse into my life here on campus. Of course, there is no way to fully capture anyone's experience at Brandeis, as everyday presents new opportunities, something crazy to witness or a possibility to break out of a constant cycle. However, I'm happy to walk you through a part of my journey. Let me show you how I practice community and community-making!

Tuesday, March 29

Marcus and his roommate brushing their teeth, looking in the bathroom mirror
My roommate and I, brushing our teeth.

8:30 a.m.

Rise and shine! My roommate, Michael — whom I love so much — and I have alarms that wake us up to hop out of bed, which we both wake up to on the first ring. As morning people, we don't have to drag ourselves out of bed and dread the sunlight hitting our eyes. We pull the window shade up, flick the lights on and we're ready for our morning routine — which we do together because we're the BEST pair of roommates — to get the day started.

9:30 a.m.

After a good shower and intense staring into my drawers to determine an outfit for the day, Michael and I are off to Sherman Dining Hall for breakfast. On today's menu, we've got an omelet, sausage patties and some honeydew melon. I always make sure to thank the cook for preparing a nice, made-to-order omelet before heading over to the seating area and enjoying the delicious food.

Marcus and friend sitting on each side of a chess board
Playing an absurd game of chess.

10:30 a.m.

After breakfast, my roommate and I part ways, as he heads back to our dorm and I head up to the North Quad to meet with my good friend Zared. Typically, I would have a class — University Writing Seminar, or UWS, a required class for first-year students at Brandeis - but my professor, Dr. Patrick Kindig, is facilitating conferences for students' proposals for research papers. I had my conference already, so I'm joining Zared to work on getting a space reserved for The Brandeis Chess Club and planning out some future meetings.

He's the President of the club and I'm the Co-President. We founded the club together this year (alongside Elias, our Treasurer, who wasn't around) because we recognized a need for chess at Brandeis. We work very closely to determine the ways in which we can bring chess to the entirety of Brandeis. Getting a space reserved, so that we could have our meetings in-person, would allow people to connect more directly with one another, which is exactly what we want to make happen. After the hard work was out of the way, we had to play some chess!

12:45 p.m.

The day is passing by fast, so I order a quick lunch through the handy Bite app so that I don't accidentally starve. For today's lunch, we've got a good old Caesar Salad with Roasted Chicken from Subconnection. Can't go wrong with a salad! I grab my order from the pickup area and head back to my dorm to watch cooking videos as I eat. There's something about watching Italian food being made that I find fascinating.

Marcus sitting in a chair, wearing a mask and holding a COVID test with his arm out toward the camera
Handing a COVID test to a friend.

1:40 p.m.

After finishing up eating and watching a few videos, I head over to the Shapiro Science Center Atrium for work at the university's COVID-19 Testing Center.  While I'm grateful to be part of the community of workers at the center, I'm more interested in the communities that we allow to keep connecting, as we continue to navigate through the pandemic.

Without the work that all of the assistants do at the testing center, we wouldn't be able to have such a vibrant, in-person environment, which allows so many existing and newly-formed communities to continue to thrive. Being able to work at the testing center is a gift that has kept on giving to the rest of campus for this entire semester, in my eyes. Anyway, today, I'm checking in/registering people for COVID tests and labeling test tubes that will be collected and sent to the Broad Institute to be processed.


5 p.m.

A blue screen with text reading communication, connection, community. Vote for Peyton and Lia! Brandeis University
The Zoom background I made.

After work, I'm ready to head to my dorm and relax, but I make it a habit to check in with the Student Union Election Campaign Team that I am on to see where I can help. I'm currently doing Social Media and Design for my good friend Peyton who's running for President for Student Union, alongside his friend Lia, who's on the ticket with him as Vice President. I've been asked to craft a Zoom Background, with the three promises of the campaign: Communication, Connection and, funnily enough, Community. They want to build community across the entire campus — how could I refuse to join their campaign team? After I finish that, I can chill out before I grab dinner.

6 p.m.

Unfortunately, I convinced myself that it was a good idea to take an evening class this semester, so — while I love the class — I've got to grab dinner super early beforehand and eat quickly. Thankfully, I've got the handy option of the Green To-Go Box, so I can grab my food and eat in my dorm while finishing up my work. On tonight's menu, we've got Chicken Piccata and some roasted vegetables, which was quite good. 

A view of a PowerPoint slide with text that reads Z Test for Proportion: Critical Value Approach: buildup. There are values and equations
My point of view in Intro to Stats.

6:30 p.m.

On to today's only class, Introduction to Statistics and Probability with Professor Hongsheng Wu. In today's class, we're continuing our look into Hypothesis Testing and different Hypothesis Tests for guessing a mean for a population when it isn't given. Today, we are focusing on the One-Tail and the Proportion Tests.

8 p.m.

The last thing I do today is head to Quidditch Practice! Brandeis' Quidditch team is a place where I am blessed to find community. Despite my knowing nothing about the Harry Potter novels (where Quidditch originates from), the Quidditch team welcomed me to practices with open arms and granted me a truly impactful experience.

Marcus, his teammates and coach posing standing together on the quidditch field. They are wearing blue team shirts and there are circular goals around them
The team after our win against Middlebury.

Quidditch has become something that I look forward to each week, with matches against neighboring teams most Saturdays and lots to learn in our weekly practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Not only am I able to build up a lot of skill and share it with others, but I've been integrated into a community which allowed me a space to express my feelings about anything openly, to be supported in my ambitions and accomplishments—not only related to Quidditch—and to always have fun. This weekend, we are going to play against Middlebury College in the semifinal of the District 2 Massachusetts Quidditch Conference Bowl (which is essentially playoffs).

11 p.m.

Marcus asleep and his roommate smiling at the camera
Michael taking a selfie.

My phone chimes, reminding me that I've got to go to bed now. My roommate has conditioned me to get 8 hours of sleep, and as a result, we have similar sleep schedules. We both get ready for bed with our nightly routines, but I end up in bed first, which was definitely a mistake. You see, Michael and I have a fun thing that we do where whenever one of us is asleep early or one of us wakes up later than the other, the person who is awake takes a photo of the other person while they're knocked out. I suppose I should know this by now, but he always gets me. Either way, good rest to finish up the day will result in a well-rested mind for my Linear Algebra class at 8:30 a.m. the next morning.

Good night!

Ultimately, there is community around every corner here at Brandeis. I'm very lucky to share just a few of the communities that I am part of, but also hopeful to find myself in even more communities. And for whoever is reading this, you never know; your community might even be a few steps away, too.