Xavier Bell 22C

“High school wasn’t a good experience for me so I knew when I graduated, I wanted something different. The biggest thing I had to overcome while at Emory was the idea of fitting in. In my hometown, everyone had the same idea about everything. Here, I finally found friends who allowed me to be who I wanted to be and not who other people wanted me to be. I came to love who I am as a person rather than living for other people.”


Anna McDonough 21C

“I’m a first-generation college student. Since my dad hadn’t gone to college, he wanted me and my siblings to have the best experience at college. I grew up in a hardworking family. Coming to college, I had to navigate this whole prestigious university thing on my own. We had gone from seeing some schools that didn’t have huge campuses or the variety of majors or resources Emory has. I remember my dad turning to me and saying that I deserve to learn at a place where I am afforded all of those luxuries. It’s something I’m really proud of because I’ve been able to flourish here without necessarily having a roadmap to do so. At the end of the day college is a privilege.”


Sarah Samaranayake 20C 21G

“I think Emory can be really liberal; however, I’ve heard two sides -- that Emory doesn’t care about progressive policies and that the institution doesn’t stay true to protecting its students and then on the other side I hear from conservative friends that this is a really stifling atmosphere where they feel like they can’t really express their beliefs. It’s not that people don’t want to have dialogue, I just don’t think many people know how to have this dialogue. They are listening to respond instead of listening to listen.

I think Emory is trying to better prioritize bridging the communication gap, but we are not there yet. My club is currently working on collaborating with the Emory Conversation Project.”

Sarah Samaranayake

Tate Stevenson 22B

“In this new year I am prioritizing my well-being. I am someone who naturally finds happiness in being busy, but I realize that working all the time and going…going…going all the time can be exhausting and lead to burnout. I am being more intentional about when I get meals and staying connected with friends. I am also setting and structuring time to reflect on what I’m doing and if I’m enjoying what I’m doing for the right reasons, as well as taking the time to listen to what my friends are doing. These are things that help me to de-stress.”

Tate Stevenson

Niharika Dighe 21C

“Growing up in India I was trying to figure myself out but having this pressure of how I was supposed to be in this society as a young woman was very difficult. Similarly, the biggest thing I’ve had to overcome at Emory was navigating different cultures, rules, and people, which made me uncomfortable at first. I didn’t know how I should act or the kind of friends I should make here. The first couple of years, I was uncomfortable accepting myself -- there were very few people who I felt knew who I really was. Now, as a third year and being able to exercise my truth and who I am has allowed me to find my community here.”

Niharika Dighe

Cody Long 20L

“Advocacy is really important to me. My sister was born early at 26 weeks and has cerebral palsy. Growing up, my mom always had to fight the education system for [my sister] to have quality education. One day, my mom showed up to my sister’s classroom and there was no teacher and inappropriate behavior was taking place. No lawyer was willing to take the case, which made me begin to want to take the fights that no one else is willing to take. Currently at Emory, I am advocating for students’ rights. I think you can’t have conversations about what it means to be a ‘student’ without a student in the room. I think [as students] it is important to overcome answers like "we said so” and challenge for a deeper level of conversations.”

Cody Long

Meghna Ravi 23G

“What drew me to neuroscience research is that I love the unknown- it's exciting to know that there will be moments where I am the only person in the world to know something. To know that you are pushing the boundary between what is known and unknown and helping to discover tiny pieces of knowledge along the way that might lead to one big change in practice is how I hope to contribute to changing the world.”

Meghna Ravi

Aaron Campbell 21C

“I’ve dealt with mental illness and even while at Emory, experienced anxiety - it was all very overwhelming. Luckily I had communities to help me through it but at the end of the day, I had to ask myself what is going on with me. Sometimes you don’t even have a word for what is going on with you. Fortunately, through those experiences and getting to such a low point, I’ve learned some tools to help mitigate those effects.”

Aaron. Campbell

Daryl Nana Tangpi 22C

“I double major in business and theater and love that Emory is a place where I can express my duality. I think there is a big misconception that some people have that Emory doesn’t support its arts. Emory has a very strong arts community that is supportive. I recently starred in Heathers: The Musical, and the show was sold out two weeks before we opened. That was as a result of a community wanting to engage.”


Amber Lee Wilson 20N

"I came here thinking I was pre-med, and then one day I was walking from an exam, and I saw a man on a bench. Next thing you know, I heard God say, ‘talk to that man on the bench,’ and even though I didn’t feel like it I walked over to the man anyway. We get to talking and laughing [and] next thing you know he tells me that his wife is in the hospital and asked if I didn’t mind visiting her. For the next 6 weeks, I would bring my homework and go visit his wife three times a week in the ICU at Emory hospital. I used to think nursing was a peon job, but in that time span, I was able to see the contact that nurses had as opposed to doctors, and it was then I realized that patient contact is what I really valued."

Amber Lee Wilson