By: Chayim Mahgerefteh | Features  | 

From the President’s Desk: Make the Most of YU

In my three years on campus and as the President of the Sy Syms Student Council, I have taken advantage of a variety of opportunities here at YU. These opportunities included growing (both educationally and spiritually), preparing for my career, and building a network of inspiring students who are determined to succeed. I’d like to mention some of the ways new students can make the most of their time at YU and reflect on my own experiences of making friends and building my own network.

What makes YU special is all the amazing professors, rabbis, and mentors who help their students become more knowledgeable and achieve their goals. These leaders in YU are a fantastic source of information and are more than happy to help new students grow. I found the rabbis to be extremely loving and caring towards their students and I’m happy I built close relationships with some of them. Coming back to America after a year of yeshiva in Israel, I wanted to continue taking Torah-learning seriously, and my rabbis in YU were always by my side helping me grow. A great way for students to learn and grow is by meeting with their rabbis in-person and attending their professors’ office hours. I gained a lot from those personal meetings and would not have had the same success without them. It can be overwhelming to have to meet so many new people upon your arrival at YU, and creating a bond with a rabbi or professor can be a great way for new students to have a guide through that process. 

There are many different resources in YU to help students prepare for their careers, most notably the Career Center. The advisors there can be extremely helpful in perfecting resumes, advising students on how to improve their interview skills, and helping students navigate different job opportunities. I’ve been a frequent visitor of the Career Center, and as a result, I have become a lot more professional and competent in the job recruitment process. The Career Center also organizes many events where professionals (many of whom are alumni) come to YU to talk about their experiences, starting from when they were in college up until their current roles as employees at large firms or small startups. These events, which are normally formed as panels, are a great way for new students to figure out what they want to do with their careers. I often introduce myself to the panelists at the end of the event and ask if I can reach out to them in the future if I ever need their advice. They almost always provide me with their email address or business card, which I have taken to my advantage. If you want to learn from people who were recently in your shoes, then get to know older students who successfully got their dream job. YU students love helping their peers succeed.

Coming to YU, I didn’t want to limit myself to just my small group of friends, so I decided to branch out and try to build relationships with as many students as I could. Fortunately, that was one of the smartest decisions I made at YU. I met different types of students from all over the world and built lots of lasting relationships. There are plenty of ways new students can make new friends, and one of the best ways is to join one of the countless clubs on campus. These clubs are a great way to meet people who share the same interests. Clubs are required to have a minimum of two events per semester, so each semester there are hundreds of events and opportunities to meet new people on campus. The Club Fair, hosted by the undergraduate student councils, will be held on September 10th, and all undergraduate students are invited to see some of the amazing clubs being represented there. It is a perfect opportunity to join existing and new clubs on campus.

The connections you make during your time in college will very likely stay with you for the rest of your life, and you never know when and how they might be of help. Although college can at times be very difficult and stressful, I overcome these difficulties through my supportive group of friends. I recommend that you find your own group of friends to support you at YU. Not only can they be emotionally comforting during stressful times, but they can also help you achieve your biggest goals and aspirations. I never would have been elected as Syms President without my large number of supporters, many of whom I didn’t know coming into YU. I am honored to have this position and excited to work alongside my fellow council members, Deans Wasserman and Strauss, and the Office of Student Life to serve our special student body and enhance everyone’s time here. 

Editor’s Note: If you’d like to speak with Chayim about something, you can reach him at He wishes everyone a successful year!


Photo Caption: Chayim Mahgerefteh is president of this year’s Sy Syms Student Council.

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University