Welcome Class of 2020!

Welcome Class of 2020!

Knowing You

Rabbi Eliezer Sneiderman

This is the season of icebreakers and introductions ~

You will be asked to introduce yourself dozens of times, hundreds if you are a freshman. Which begs the question: "Who are you?"

There are different ways of answering this question.

The simplest way is to play the tape. Each of has an intro tape. We recite our name, hometown, major, interests, and favorite color without even thinking. Some even have a super-power and personified ice cream flavor rehearsed down to a “T”.

Another way to get through icebreakers is to actually think about the intro questions. What are they really trying to get at?

How do I share who I am if I don't really know myself?

That is a deep question. But this idea of 'knowing yourself' is all wrong. College is not the time to 'know' yourself. It is a time to create yourself. The self, especially during these years is fluid—constantly in motion.

You don't need to "know yourself'' because you are a constant work in progress.

One comes to the realization that every new situation presents a chance for self- creation. No one knows what your interests and attitudes were before. You have been given a blank slate. You can change anything you like. There is no need to share your intense interest in Pokemon unless you really want to.

College is a new horizon and you can be whoever you would like. The person interested in French literature? Pick some up. That cool kid that likes Ansel Adams and early American photographers? Pick up a poster. Join an acapella group or the Model UN; never in your life will you have so many opportunities at your fingertips.

Jews believe in the power of self-creation—the essense of our preparations for the Jewish New Year that begins next month. Every day is a new day. Take control and create the best you.

Top Tips

As you move in and get adjusted to life on campus, heed this advice:

1) Get involved - The number one piece of advice that graduating seniors have given is to get involved. The more you put into your college experience, the more you will get out of it. Try a lot of things. Juggling, Rock Climbing, Organic Food, Indy Music etc. there is so much available on campus, you will never have resources like this again.

2) Forget your netflix password - Staying in one's dorm room is the opposite of getting involved. Do not watch TV, play video games, or, otherwise spend time by yourself consuming media. You can catch up on all of your shows during winter break.

3) Have a plan - What do you want to get out of your college experience. Make a list, have a plan, and start taking concrete steps to fulfill your plan.

4) Get to know others - Meet as many different people as you can. This is the one time in your life when you can knock on doors and make friends. After you graduate, social walls and barriers begin to rise.

5) Get to know yourself - It is hard to get to know others if you don't know yourself. Figure out what you like and dislike. Gravitate to people that accept you for who you are.

6) Most important, RELAX! - for the next four years you have time to chill and develop. Most of the major details in life will be taken care of. Enjoy the time you have now!

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