Tuesday, November 02, 2004

More on Brooklyn College

First-Thanks to all you guys who complimented my blog. Keep 'em coming. Keep visiting, and spread the word. You guys motivate me to write even when I am crazy busy!!

Now, on to the Brooklyn College stuff.
I must preface again by saying Brooklyn college is definitely not for everyone. There are some girls in Bais Yaakov schools that would get pregnant the second they leave, if you know what I mean. They can go straight to Touro.
But if the girl is a little more mature and confident, and level-headed she can do realy nicely in Brooklyn College. Take yours truly, for example. I'm not saying I'm perfect, or that I am the best girl in any Bais Yaakov or anything like that, but I feel that as I have grown, these characteristics are the ones that gave me the present outlook I have on Brooklyn College.

I feel such a newfound appreciation for Judaism.

Shabbos: I always overhear my classmates complaining about how they have to wrok on Saturday. Even worse, they have to do their papers on Saturday, and catch up on all their schoolwork. How awesome is that "helpless" feeling when you're lying on the couch Friday night thinking, "I couldn't write my paper now even if I wanted to!" G-d is helping us relax. We'd be so insane without Shabbos! Without Shabbos, there's no break, no reprieve....ya got NOTHIN'!
When my professor told us last semester, "I spent all Saturday programming you guys into this thing..." I laughed to myself, "I just ate, slept, and read. What a life!" (Oh, and davened of course!)

Brachos: Most of us mumble Brachos anyway, whether we want to or not, and probably give little thought to it. In observing some classmate before class, I noticed a girl take out a hamburger (yes, from McDonald's) and just take a bite. Just like that! My initial reaction was, "OMG! She didn't wash. She didn't make a bracha!" and I was like, "Well, duh, you idiot, she's not Jewish!" but then I realized hot great our Mitzvos are. Thank G-d I have to wash my hands before I eat bread! Who knows what I could have touched on the railing coming upstairs?! Yuck. Brachos also lend spirituality to a physical activity. When you say a Bracha correctly, you're acknowleging G-d's existence, and the fact that He created the food that's about to nourish you. It's Hakoras HaTov all day.

The Social Scene: Now, I don't mean boys and girls-because that's where all the trouble starts and ends. I mean before class. In a Bais Yaakov, when the students are waiting for the teacher to arrive, everyone chats it up. (The problem is they don't stop after the teacher walks in and begins to teach, either, but that's a story for another day) Here, it's cold as ice. Nobody talks to one another. Unless they're friends from before. Otherwise, it's complete silence. Don't bother approaching someone or initiating conversation. Just look busy so it's not awkward.

Men and Women: I decided to actually go with this one. In the Frum world, relationships between men and women are so much more sacred. Here, women especially, are disposable. If she's no good in bed, I'll get another one. Or pay another one. Whatever. Since there are no Halachot regarding Negiah, men and women are all over each other in public, which is kind of annoying, and not so fun to watch. It's a general feeling of access that the men feel they have toward the women. So many things are abused that way.

Tzniut: I'm not gonna say I am the most modestly dressed student here, because I know I'm not. I also know there are frum girls here who look like whores despite their claiming to keep Halacha, or trying really hard to fit in and look like a non-jew. It ain't helping. I can spot you a mile away. And smile at you and get no response, but that's done already. Maybe I should just join the bitch club and not smile at everyone. Whatever. So anyway, I kinda appreciate the laws of Tzniut now that I can see the ramifications of not being dressed appropriately. The girls who wear the high boots and short skirts,...or mini-skirts and tanks, or buttered-on shirts...get attention, but not good attention. They get more than the whistle that I tolerate, and ignore. For all I know, they get picked up on street corners. UNfortuantely, that includes some frum girls, too.

Anyway, I said my piece. I am not a frummak. Just an appreciative Jew. Is that fair? I'd love your comments!


At 11/02/2004 9:00 PM, Blogger anonymous student said...

It's really strange, I said it once before on this blog and I'll say it again; anything that I have on my mind eventually shows up on this here. Weird (shivers...oooo). I'm also in heavily jewishily populated college that happens to rhyme with Iooo (sorry thats the best I could come up with). I took some college courses at secular college (gasp!) and I kinda came away with some of the same feelings. I felt that I had to define myself as who I am, as opposed to spending all your time in a Jewish environment, which to an extent shapes your views on things. This really effected everything in my life. My davening was stronger, I felt that my learning that I did was better, and I just felt proud in general to be Jewish. I'm not saying that I would switch to a secular college for those reasons, I really like it here (except for the school part - midterms (knocks head on desk), but I could definatly hear a case for switching schools for those reasons specificlly. Listen its all in your heart in the end, ubilvad sheyecaven libo lashamayim (You just have to turn your heart to Shamayim). Michelle, I love your blog, please blog about everything thats weighing down on you (even when you're "crazy busy") keep up the awesome work. Ahhh!!!...gotta get back to studying...midterm tommorow...

At 11/07/2004 3:43 PM, Blogger Cholent said...

I just discovered your blog and am really enjoying it...I read all your old posts! Keep on blogging!

At 11/24/2004 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm totally with you on all these ideas. I try to jot things down that I find disturbing or things that help me appreciate our Religion in the margins of my notebook when I'm in class. It definately keeps me going! I find your points about Shabbos interesting--I just had that conversation with a non-Jew in one of my classes. It is definately very hard for any professor or classmate to understand why I don't feel that I NEED to spend my Saturdays doing work in order to maintain a good GPA. After Rosh Hashona and Succos the 3 day Yom Tov thing to them must have been really crazy!

At 6/23/2005 8:16 PM, Blogger Moiy-rah said...


Straight from bais yaakov, you'll get a culture shock from brooklyn.

i loved it.

At 12/12/2005 10:01 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

Rikki-I'm in Touro & you know my feelings about it(a 1/2 hour conversation about someone's adorable shoes says it all)but 1 thing I think is really nice is that at least 4 times this semester when I was waiting for my mother to pick me up, people asked me if I needed a ride. 3 times, they were people that I knew from my classes or work, but 1 time it was a complete stranger! I thought that was so nice, I just couldn't get over it. Keep up the blogging, eventually I'll catch up!(I'm up to Dec. '04 now!)


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