Just Ask Reb: A Q&A for YU Students

By: Reb  |  November 26, 2020

“Just Ask Reb” gives YU students the opportunity to anonymously ask for advice about anything pertaining to the life of a YU student. Questions can range from social to academic problems or anything in between! Responses will be posted on the YU Observer Facebook page on a rolling basis. They will also be featured in an article posted to the YU Observer website and in the YU Observer’s monthly PDF publications.

Q: I’m interested in writing for one of the student papers, but I don’t know which one to write for. Help!

Reb: There is a variety of student papers at YU, and you can choose which paper to write for based on your specific interests and preferred writing style. The Commentator includes news, editorials, features, opinions, business, and media. It covers global news as well as YU specific news, and it is a great option if you enjoy reporting on current events. The Commentator also includes opinion pieces, so it is perfect if you’re looking to share an opinion you feel passionate about. The Commentator also posts business-related articles, so if that is a topic that piques your interest, you should definitely consider writing for The Commentator. Similarly, the YU Observer covers news, features, opinions, business, arts and culture, science and technology, and editorials. Because the YU Observer covers such a wide range of topics, you can essentially think of any topic that interests you and ask an editor if that topic is something you can write about. The editor will most likely say yes, unless another student is already writing a similar piece. If you want to get involved but are unsure what to write about, join the YU Observer writers’ chat on Whatsapp. Editors send topics that they want students to write about, and if you’re interested in the topic you can privately respond to the editor. This is an easy way to get ideas on what to write about if you’re having trouble coming up with a topic. If you’re more interested in creative writing, then “YU Journal of the Arts” (YUJA) YU Active Minds’s publication, “The Breather,” or “Something Rich and Strange,” YU’s literary magazine, may be the paper for you! Students write short stories and poems for this publication, and it is perfect for students who enjoy expressing themselves through these mediums.

Q: Does “Ask Reb” mean these questions are being sent to a Rabbi? If so, who?

Reb: Questions sent to “Just Ask Reb” are not sent to a Rabbi. They are sent to an anonymous student at Stern College for Women.

Q: I’m having a lot of trouble choosing my career path. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, but I don’t know if I really want to continue with all the rigorous pre-med courses, plus go to medical school. I want to eventually have a family and be able to spend time with them. My other option is becoming a Judaic studies teacher. I love sharing Torah with others, but I don’t know if by becoming a teacher I would be “giving up” on my dream of becoming a doctor. What should I do?

Reb: It is very difficult to become a doctor, and you must be prepared to take rigorous courses and exams over the course of many years. You must be motivated to study and willing to make sacrifices. It is possible to become a doctor and spend time with your family, but in order to do this, you may have to wake up very early or go to bed very late to accomplish everything you want to do each day. Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day, and each person decides how he or she will spend these hours. You may have to miss out on social events or other leisure activities to study effectively while also having time to spend with your family. That being said, becoming a doctor is very rewarding, and once you finish your years of training you will be able to spend every day helping others. However, becoming a Judaics studies teacher can be equally rewarding, but it has challenges of its own. You will have the opportunity to influence students in a meaningful way, but making an impact is not easy. Students may not want to listen to what you have to say, and it is difficult to keep students engaged. However, you will have the potential to positively change someone’s spiritual life. All this being said, what you should choose depends on your individual skills and interests. If you’re passionate about science, are motivated to study, and don’t mind being busy all the time, then becoming a doctor is the job for you. If you are patient, love giving over ideas, and enjoy connecting with students, then becoming a Judaic studies teacher is the path you should choose. Both career paths have positive and negative aspects, and it’s up to you to weigh these factors to make your decision.