Maya Graciela Friedman
Maya Friedman - Graduation Address - June 10, 2020
One day my Dad asked if I wanted to visit Brandeis and I was like, “Why not? Let's give it a try.” At first I wasn't really excited to be honest. I mean since my dad is the Social Studies teacher for the middle school I thought I was gonna hate it, but I met some really amazing people. They were really kind to me. After the shadow day, I was going on and on about how much I liked Brandeis to my dad. I was like this is the middle school I want to attend and so I did. I just loved the students and the academics, and how the school was organized. Ever since then a lot has changed. I made some really great friendships that I never thought I would have and I discovered things about me that are so important to me and will be in the future.
One amazing thing about Brandeis is that you’ll always have people who believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. I have always had a hard time accepting myself, I’ve often criticized myself to others. The kids at Brandeis are so beyond smart and I didnt feel good enough... but my classmates reminded me that once you put your mind to something you can accomplish basically anything. Brandeis is like my home away from home, I always feel accepted there. I’m going to miss my friends more than anything, I literally don’t know what I would do without them. They have always made me laugh, they helped me in times of need, for example, sometimes I would have late night facetime calls with some of my classmates and they would support me when I was feeling down or super anxious. And I know I can always count on them to be my shoulder to cry on.
The teachers are so wonderful, they’re always there for me when I'm stressed and they make sure that I'm getting the help that I need. Throughout my middle school years my teachers never hesitated to help me make my school work more do-able, so I could understand it better and learn what I needed to, to be more prepared for high school.
One thing that I will never forget is the Israel trip- one of the best trips I have been on! Even though we had our ups and downs I felt so connected to my classmates and the teachers. All the activities we did were 100% better with the 8th grade right beside me. I made so many memories on that trip that I will never forget- from hiking up Masada and looking at the beautiful sunset, changing hotels every three days, to experiencing what it's like to be visually impared, to our last Shabbat in Israel together, and so much more. This was also a very unique year for us given the shelter in place. Even though we are quarantined, we still maintain our relationships by checking in on each other and being supportive in this hectic time. Given everything we have gone through, I am confident that the class of 2020 will find our way back to each other in the future.