Getting to know my classmates, I am realizing that we have all taken really different paths to get to Warner. Unlike some graduate programs, the professional and educational backgrounds of the students here are quite varied. For example, one of my classmates is a long-time business owner that is looking to use her education at Warner to help her clients. Another is a Simon School Recruiter, hoping to advance his career through Warner’s programs. And yet another is a physician educator from Egypt who came to Warner to develop new skills to teach her students in Egypt.
Having a diverse student body with different backgrounds makes for interesting discussions in the classroom. Everyone has something different to bring to the table that only adds to one’s understanding of the topic at hand. For example, in my Global Issues of Higher Education class, my Egyptian classmate provides a unique perspective on higher education, which is framed by her experience as physician, educator, and international student. This perspective is particularly valuable in a class about global issues. In my Leadership and Management in Higher Education, we are learning about different theories of leadership. When each student shares a different perspective on what leadership means to them, it puts those theories into context.
At the same time, there is also something universal about certain experiences, like starting something new and becoming a student that helps you connect with your peers. I’m reminded of the first student I talked to at Warner. She uprooted her family in July from New York City and moved to Rochester for her husband’s job opportunity. Having lived in the City myself, we bonded over what we missed the most about the city (walking everywhere, lots and lots of food options), fitting into a new community, and our excitement and nervousness about starting graduate school.
So, get to know your classmates, their backgrounds and their interests, keep an open mind during class, and remember that as students here at Warner, we’re all in it together.