At Middlesex, our Community Life program is about teaching and ensuring healthy living in our community. At regular assemblies and meetings designed to stimulate open conversation, we address a range of topics and issues. This week’s topic was inclusivity. Students and faculty met in combined advising groups to share their stories – for four minutes each. The premise behind the exercise is that when we are comfortable telling our stories, it is easier to be our true selves and therefore to be true to who we are and who we want to be. As many discovered, four minutes is a long time to speak. In the exercise, listening was just as important as speaking; participants were encouraged to be fully present in their listening and to be aware of their own assumptions about the person speaking.
After the exercise was over, the groups discussed such questions as: Did anything surprise you about what you heard? Did you find that some of your assumptions about the speaker did not hold true? Do you feel that you are able to be your “real self” at Middlesex? What can each of us do to ensure that this community is one where everyone is comfortable telling his/her true story? As a community, we seek to be the very best version of ourselves day in and day out.