When you arrive at HDS there is a thoughtful, intentional orientation. It’s a nice mix of large group and small group activities. A nice mix of optional and highly recommended activities. Perfect for an introvert like me and I’m sure it’s great for extroverts too. And you meet people, over lunch, in those groups; you chat. And you realize that you have kindred spirits.
Then, in class—in your seminars and your sections from your lectures—you start to say, ‘hi’. And you walk through the hallways of the campus and you see different groups you want to join or lectures you want to attend. And you go. And you start chatting. It just doesn’t take long at all.
The friends you make at HDS are a non-issue. You make them because everybody is nice and everybody is kind and everyone wants to help you: They are all here thinking about how to be good.
But the real asset at HDS is that you are surrounded by brilliant, kind people who may or may not be your friends but will provoke you to think, challenge your ideas, compliment and celebrate your successes and push you to do better. You can ask anyone at HDS to have coffee to ‘pick their brain’, and they will help you. You can ask anyone for their thoughts- post any question on the facebook board and friends or no friends, you will get a response.
I am the definition of an introvert. But put in a section or two and you can’t help but find yourself amongst friends here. The professors make themselves available and mean it. Let me say it again: you are surrounded by people who professionally want to be nice. These are people who you will learn from. These are people with whom you will feel comfortable being vulnerable and failing in front of. These are people who will be truly proud of your successes. These are people with such different backgrounds from you that their thoughts are going to educate you more than any book you can possibly read.
You will find friends too, of course. They will invite you into their homes and will watch your cats. But as precious as those relationships are, you would be fine without them. Because at HDS you find a home.