But maybe it’s a start.
On the first day of classes this semester, a dozen students walked from Grogan Residential College to UNCG’s Minerva statue and gathered round it. In the rain, they stood and contemplated their futures. They’d heard about the campus good-luck tradition – leave your offering and make a wish. They decided that each would tell what they were wishing for.
These students in the Grogan College Science & Medical Careers learning community recently recounted that moment in time.
Ashlyn Fisher, a pre-veterinary freshman, recalls, “I asked to make Dean’s List.”
Nick Eze said, “I wanted a 3.3 GPA and to make Dean’s List.” He is a pre-med freshman who plans to be a cardiologist in his home city of Durham.
Danielle Hill, a biology major with a pre-med concentration, kept it nice and simple. “I wished for a good year.” She is in the Lloyd International Honors College as well as the Grogan learning community, and is on the Campus Activities Board.
Matthew Prosser is pre-med (medical studies). He sees himself in 10 years doing cell identification for pathology. He says he probably said something typical like “have a good semester.” But what did he really want? “I wanted to understand EVERYTHING.”
For about 10 minutes they reflected and, one by one, stated their wishes. They knew they were going to be friends. They were going to live on the same floor of Grogan. They would study together, be in class together, support each other. They might as well make their intentions known.
And they stepped to the base of the statue and left their offerings. Minerva, embodying wisdom, has been the university’s symbol since she appeared on the school’s first diplomas. The statue by alumnus Jim Barnhill was commissioned in 2003 by the Class of 1953.
Chaviaus Floyd, an aspiring pediatrician who’d said he wanted to make all A’s and make Dean’s List, decided to do something unique with his offering. He had an apple and a coin – and jabbed the coin so it stuck out of the top.
Some of the coins were actually Chuck E Cheese tokens, Prosser adds.
And then they just talked. In the drizzling rain. They were new friends and new Spartans. They had the semester ahead of them. Finally the rain sent them back to Grogan.
One of the 12 was a sophomore. Kayla Pratt, the peer academic leader (PAL) for the learning community led by Meg Horton, plans to specialize in biotechnology. She’ll get her master’s here at UNCG and be a genetic counselor, hopefully in her home city of Fayetteville. Her wish? “I wanted to pass all my classes, maintain Dean’s List and improve my GPA.”
She is not the only student skeptical of how much good fortune it might bring. Perhaps those very determined freshmen, on their way to their various health careers, were making their own fortune. With support from each other.
“It was a bonding experience,” she explains. “They did it together.”
Next week, hear more from the group – including what they like about UNCG. And check out the first post in this three-part series.
By Mike Harris
Visual: Days later at a large outing at Piney Lake, the students grouped together for a quick shot. L-r, front, Tyrick Stewart, Danielle Hill, Alyse Schmidt, Jajiba Biswas, Briana Daniels, Kayla Pratt (PAL); back, Katherine Nicholson, Ashlyn Fisher, Matthew Prosser, Nicholas Eze, Joseph Diodato, Chaviaus Floyd