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Baker in the snow

The Undergraduate Deans Office has an incredibly popular 'Take a Faculty Member to Breakfast or Lunch' program that allows students to (you'll never guess…) take a faculty member to a meal once per term! It's meant to facilitate student-faculty connecting, and it thoroughly succeeds. It's a really easy process, and a testament to Dartmouth's commitment to building relationships between student and faculty, facilitating networking and entrances into fields and careers, and making those connections all accessible.

Step 1: Choose a Professor or Faculty Member

This is truly the hardest step of the process. My first term I had an incredibly difficult time deciding, because I loved all three of my professors. All three created great class experiences, were engaging instructors, and were all very passionate about their work. I would've loved to sit down with all of them, but alas, that's not how it works. On the brightside, you can pick professors who you aren't taking a class from in your current term, so I could always meet with them later!

If you're having trouble deciding, here's a few tips: You can choose based on who's field you're most interested in, or who you may want to take more classes with. This goes without saying, but it should be a professor you'd genuinely like to sit down and talk to.  And — if that sounds intimidating, you can also sign up to do the meal with other peers, as a group! That way it won't be a 1-on-1 conversation with the professor, which can make things a little less intimidating. 

Step 2: Ask a Professor

Once you've decided who to invite, you'll have to ask them. This can be through email, through an office hours visit, during a conversation before or after class — there are various options, and all have their merits! Go with what you're most comfortable with.

Step 3: Plan Time and Day with Professor

Students and professors alike have busy lives and cluttered schedules. For me, it just took a few emails back and forth to figure out where our schedules were open at the same time! Like the last step, use whatever mode of communication works best for you.

Step 4: Voucher Form

DartHub is the online portal for just about everything a Dartmouth student could need — including the forms you have to fill out to get the meal vouchers for the 'Take a Faculty Member to Breakfast or Lunch' program. It only takes a few minutes and a few clicks, and then voilà! A free meal with a professor is in your future!

Step 5: Get Lunch!

There are two destination options for these meal vouchers:

  1. Foco — also known as '53 Commons, this is the main Dining Hall on campus. Most students eat here pretty frequently.
  2. Pine Restaurant — one of the fanciest restaurants in town, and it has delicious food. 

I'm not saying this choice is a no-brainer, but… well, to each their own.

(My professor and I went to Pine.)

Step 6: Talk

Unless you plan to eat your meal in silence, you'll probably end up talking to your professor. So, a overview on talking:

"Speech occurs when air flows from the lungs, up the windpipe (trachea) and through the voice box (larynx). This causes the vocal cords to vibrate, creating sound." — Mayo Clinic

In all seriousness, the next step is to meet up, get the meal, and just talk! Make conversation — this isn't an interview, so you don't have to have questions or answers prepared. Discussions can cover Dartmouth, faculty research, other classes they teach, their experience in their field, etc. — and of course, they'll likely ask you questions as well. If you picked your professor right, this is the part where you get to relax. Order your food and enjoy a good meal with great conversation. 

In Conclusion:

Getting a meal with a professor is a great experience, and I look forward to taking advantage of this program each term!

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