2018 Senior Reflections: Emory as an Ecosystem

Ayushi Agarwal, Photo Editor

Emory as an Ecosystem

By Cassidy Schwartz

My Emory experience started in a forest four years ago. On Outdoor Emory’s sea kayaking SOAR trip, I tentatively laid down my roots and discovered my first friends (several of which I still call my best friends today). A few days later, I walked on campus for orientation and felt as if I had never left the woods of Savannah, Ga. A forest of students surrounded me and it was both overwhelming and exciting at the same time.

Slowly, my involvement in the varied aspects of College Council (CC) — chartering, budgeting, programming and student affairs — allowed me to distinguish the individual trees in the forest that had once overwhelmed me. Each was striving to find their niche and to make an impact. Through CC, I have had the immense privilege to hear the voices of a diverse range of student leaders from throughout our community. I devoted my time to listening to their passions and connecting them to the resources that would fulfill their goals.

I am beyond grateful for what I have learned from taking a step back to listen to the forest that surrounds us. Many times over, individuals have seen something in me that I did not see in myself. They have elevated my confidence, raised my spirits, supported my dreams and nourished my passions. Emory spirit emanates from the passion we each derive from our extracurricular involvements, our academic interests and our plans for the future.

My most profound observation was that no student feels that Emory is perfect. Everyone sees holes in the ecosystem, where energy is lost, where connections fail. Yet, no one falls prey to disillusionment. Emory students work tirelessly to improve this campus and to make a meaningful impact on the global community.

Thank you for everything, Class of 2018. I cannot wait to see the contributions that you each continue to make.

Cassidy Schwartz is from Munster, Ind., and served as the 2017-2018 College Council president.