When I chose to attend Emory, I selected the school for a variety of reasons. Sure we’re in Atlanta, and we do have awesome weather. However, I picked Emory namely for it’s size. We’re not too big. We’re not too small. We have great research opportunities, yet have a feeling of a smaller liberal arts college. Emory gives us the best of both worlds and--OK, I’ll stop the tour guide spiel. Seriously, though, the size of our community is pretty ideal.
Last night, I attended one of the Emory Alumni Association’s Dinner with 12 Strangers. Before I continue, I will admit that not everyone at the dinner was a stranger to me, but there were definitely more people I didn’t know than those that I did. The dinner itself was great. I had forgotten how nice it is to sit down for a meal in a home. The company, however, was even better. The Alumni Association arranges these dinners in hopes of bringing alumni (many of whom currently work for Emory) and students together over a meal. Their site says the “program helps you sit down with new people, then helps you leave as friends.” And, quite honestly, the dinner did just that.
It was during this dinner that I realized I had recently failed to appreciate the very community that attracted me to this school in the first place. So often we get caught up in the studying, and the papers, and the job search, and all of our other activities that we fail to indulge in our rich community. The dinner gave me an opportunity to meet new people and break bread with students that I would probably never talk to otherwise.
Now I understand that many of you might be thinking: thanks for writing this now, Michael. The dinners will not happen again until next year. Yet, I guess what I am trying to share with you all is the fact that we do have a pretty awesome group of people on this campus. Everyone has a really interesting story to share, but you have to take the time to sit down and actually listen. You might not want to organize your own dinner with 12 strangers, but it might not hurt to get to know some of your classmates better. Maybe take the time to talk to your professor during office hours about something other than the assigned homework problems or maybe set a different goal of how you want to learn about and contribute to our community. We are pretty lucky to go to Emory, so let’s make the most of it.