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Baker Berry

Hello everyone, hope you are all doing well. I'm feeling swell after a great Green Key weekend with friends, sitting on a couch in The Cube, one of our student study spaces and resting my legs after a multitude of concerts and fun events. 

Besides our annual spring weekend celebration-of-music tradition, another highlight of the past week has been a lunch that I went on with my computer science professor. Through Dartmouth's Take A Professor to Lunch program, I was able to enjoy a free meal at a delicious Hanover restaurant while getting to know a prominent figure in my academic life outside the context of a classroom. The program allows for each student to have one free meal a term and is extremely simple. After scheduling a time with the professor of choice, students can get a voucher for the free meal from the Undergraduate Dean's Office. 

The hardest part of this process for me was having to actually choose which professor to ask for a meal with; I had multiple I was choosing between. I really have liked both my computer science and sociology professors from this term, and I have a long list of all the faculty members that I wanted to talk to during my freshman year, when this program wasn't in operation because of COVID. I ultimately chose my computer science professor, because I felt like her career path was similar to new developing hopes that I have for my own life. After making this decision, I reached out, and the plans were set. 

The meal itself was immensely more inspiring and engaging than I expected. We sat outside in perfect weather, enjoying the delicious food and getting to know each other on a personal level. I got to hear all about her education, the multitude of positions she's held throughout her career, her entire motivation for teaching at Dartmouth. It was such a unique experience, seeing her in a completely different context. I felt like I was chatting with an acquaintance, catching up about each other's lives. I told her about Charlottesville, my hometown, my interests, hopes, even aspirations. Yet, the most exciting part of the conversation was a discovery that our personal philosophies were much more aligned than expected. I learned that we have similar priorities, motivations, even outlooks on life. This conversation created a newfound bond between the two of us, one that I hope will last for a long time. 

After the meal, class with this professor felt different. I felt naturally more comfortable and engaged, which was another unexpected outcome. Overall, this experience was incredibly fulfilling and yet another reminder about how the faculty here are so special. Never would I have ever thought that a random professor would care enough about a random student to sit down for an hour and a half and hear about his life, let alone make connections to her own. It's such a supportive feeling, and will definitely be a meal that I will remember for years to come.

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