September always feels like the beginning of a new year, even more so than January 1st. Although we mark that day with resolutions and retail sales, it’s still just the middle of winter with a long wait for spring. But in September, the weather starts to change and so do we. We anticipate (sometimes with a bit of anxiety) new academic opportunities and meeting new people. We can also feel disoriented. Both new and returning students will learn, in some areas, that the old rules no longer apply. Yet, they will also be affirmed that previous lessons are the foundation for new learning.
When I began seminary many Septembers ago, a recent graduate said to me, “In the midst of all you will encounter here, remember two things. Be and do. Be and do.” Over the years it has become an expanded mantra to me: “In being all I am created to be, I can do all I am called to do.” Whether you profess to be a person of faith or not, you are on this planet for a reason. Seeking meaning and purpose is a human instinct. Is your purpose merely self serving, or connected to something greater than yourself?
Emory students are well known for their commitment to service and volunteerism. In the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we are planning service trips for fall, winter and spring breaks. We are writing checks and sending donations for relief. In addition to this important work, this September, I am encouraging another type of reaching out within the Emory campus. What would it look like if moved a few steps beyond our regular circle of friends? When did you last take time to learn about someone with whom you have little in common? We were created to be in community. Humans thrive on connection. One of Emory’s core values is to be a collaborative community that works for positive change. It’s how we were created to be. What will YOU do to embody that vision and value?
Rev. Bridgette Young Ross
Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life