An Open Letter to The Brandeis Community on Door Holding

To the Brandeis Community,

When I came to visit campus for the first time five months ago, I had no idea how many doors are held at Brandeis. I know that sounds odd; obviously people hold doors for others all the time. In most circles, it is simply a common courtesy.

At Brandeis, it is much, much more.

In the first day of me being on campus, at least fifteen different people must have held the door for me. Not the kind of door-holding where you are barely six inches behind them and it would be downright rude not to, but the kind of door holding where the holder has to stop and wait for a solid five, ten, maybe even fifteen seconds for the person behind them to go through. I was pleasantly surprised throughout my first week as people glanced over their shoulder as they went through a door and then stopped and held the door for whoever happened to be behind them. My surprise was limited to that sort of barely-conscious awareness that something unique was occurring, so it wasn’t until I noticed myself holding a disproportionate amount of doors that the real shock hit.

Brandeis, in less than seven days, had shaped me into someone who not only holds doors, but looks forward to holding doors for other people. When I walk through a door now and notice someone behind me, I get a little leap of joy at the opportunity to hold the door, for the person to catch it and say that now familiar, “Thanks.”

No one who has been on campus for more than a week is ever surprised at this tiny act of kindness; that is how commonplace it is. And this little habit of Brandeis students reflects the community they make up. Brandeis is a campus and a community full of little kindnesses, which, I think, can often be the most special.

 

When I came to visit campus for the first time, I got a sense, a mere taste, of the kind of people who make up the school. As I followed my host around campus like a lost lamb, she would stop to talk to other students, and without fail, I would get an introduction that would end, in one way or another with, “You seem awesome! I hope you come to Brandeis next year!” spoken with more ardor and authenticity than most camp counselors I know. Five months later, these people come up to me in the halls, at dinner, in the quads and say hello, ask how I’m doing, tell me how happy they are that I chose Brandeis. And I must say, I’m pretty happy, too.