When I was a high school senior looking at colleges, I knew I wanted a challenging school, but I did not want a cut-throat environment. I consider myself a high achiever, and I know from experience that competition in academics can become toxic. It was important for me to find a school that was rigorous but had a supportive community that fostered a healthy learning environment. I was also interested in many diverse topics and wanted the opportunity to take classes outside of my science major. That’s why when I toured Emory and spoke to the faculty, staff, and current students, it became evident that it was exactly the school I was looking for. It turned out to be the perfect place to explore academically while learning in a collaborative environment!
Emory is well known for its academic rigor, but I saw faculty members who were ready to help students in every way possible. I also saw that students could rely on each other for support. During my 4 years here, I gathered evidence of this kind of support from the community again and again. My time was transformed for the better by the people I encountered.
It was understood among my classmates that everyone struggles at times, and that we work to combine our strengths for the benefit of the whole student body. In one of my chemistry classes, one student held a far better understanding of the material than the rest of the us. Rather than disengaging from his classmates, he held study sessions before each exam entirely voluntarily! In almost every one of my classes, students felt very comfortable reaching out to classmates on social media for help even if we’d never met before.
The Emory community thrives off supporting one another in their academic endeavors. Professors love talking about intellectual connections you have made across your different classes, and they are very accessible to their students. I spent many hours in the Pre-Health Office with my advisor grappling over my career trajectory. I also spent hours every, single Friday in one-on-one Microbiology tutoring. Then, in the following semester, my Microbiology professor and I continued to meet every week, but to have dinner because we had formed a great working relationship.
In my experience, the core values at Emory are collaboration and interdisciplinary (in academics). Professors encourage collaboration wherever possible through group projects, case studies, and critical thinking problems in class. I was impressed by how the departments of the university all work together to ensure each major has a well-rounded curriculum. As a neuroscience major, I have classes in anthropology, psychology, biology, and religion & ethics — all as part of my major. In fact, the Interdisciplinary Studies Major is one where students create their own curriculum and synthesize courses into a capstone project their senior year. Emory’s mentality (and now it’s mine too) is that we are stronger together, and the best academic work comes from us all working together.
Briana Delvasto 21C
Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology
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