Time Really Does Fly When You’re Having Fun
By Shira Rosenblum, Class of 2015
When people say that time flies when you’re having fun, they sure do mean it. To think that it was just about four years ago that I was graduating high school and timidly looking forward to starting college still blows my mind. While I was raised in an Orthodox home, I graduated from a public high school and the last thing I wanted to do was lock myself into the “Jewish bubble” in college. I’m not going to lie; I didn’t want anything to do with Jewish life at college. However, my two older siblings who were both at Rutgers when I started as a freshman had different plans for me.
I always found it funny that while my two older siblings were always involved with Hillel, neither one of them ever pursued leadership positions in the organization. I knew for a fact I wouldn’t be in one either.
It was a just a few weeks into my freshman year when a leadership position opened up: Mesorah (Orthodox community) Freshman Representative… and it wasn’t long before I found my siblings encouraging me to apply for it. I already felt like I was friendly with a good number of freshmen and, with my two older siblings, felt like I’d be the perfect liaison between underclassmen and upperclassmen. It didn’t take long for Hillel to embrace me with warmth. By the end of the year, I found myself applying for the position of Community Service Chair, then reapplying the following year, and finally applying for Vice President for my last year on board. What was that I said about definitely not being involved with Hillel?
When I think back on my four years and what impacted me the most, Hillel jumps to the top of the list. To start, I’ve been involved with it for literally my entire time at Rutgers. The community that is “Hillel” cannot be matched by any other student group or organization on campus. I can tell just from speaking with my non-Jewish friends that they’re a little jealous of the community that is available to me through Hillel.
I can also vouch for the fact that Hillel has influenced me not just as a student at Rutgers, but is already affecting the decisions I make as a graduate. One of the biggest factors when deciding where to attend veterinary school was where the most vibrant Jewish life was, something that became much more important to me throughout these past four years.
In elementary and middle school, my involvement in Jewish activities was not so much my choice as it was my parents’. College is the first time in many people’s lives that they are truly independent, with the freedom to make their own choices without their parents constantly breathing down their necks and watching their every step. It’s a very unique, exciting, and scary time because so much of a person’s character is developed during these pivotal years.
The way I told my story might make it seem like I was just following along in a script that led me to Hillel, but the reality is that as much as my siblings and parents were thrilled to hear about my involvement, the choices I made to get involved were entirely my own and I couldn’t be happier with what I’ve done. I am the person that I am today with the values and passions that I have because of my time at Rutgers, and Hillel has always and will continue to play a big role in my life.