It occurred to me today that in my last semester I will most likely not be able to do one of my favorite things here at Erskine- eat dinner with my professor! It might sound weird, but it has meant a lot to me in my time here. Let me explain.
Over the course of my three years at Erskine, I have been invited out to dinner with or over to the home of many of the Erskine faculty for meals. It hasn’t been one particular person and has ranged from the President to the professors. It’s a good break from dining hall food (which is needed every now and again) as well as a time to get to know faculty and peers outside of the classroom.
More than any of that though, these experiences have really embodied something that I love about Erskine and one of it’s distinct charms to quote the common phrasing: “At Erskine, you are more than a number”.
How many students at big universities have been over to eat at the home of their president? How many students know their professors’ children (even pets!) by name? How many professors would take the time and money to have a home cooked meal for their students? I do not have a lot of experience with other bigger colleges, and so I do not know the answer to these questions. The impression that I get however from the people that I know is that there is something very unique about a place like Erskine in the care and treatment that a student receives here.
I have eaten some good meals, sure, but the overall meaning of my Erskine experience has been more than meals. My professors have always been there outside of class to answer my questions and even to give advice in times of difficulty (both in and out of the realm of academics). I haven’t been treated like a number, rather I have been treated like a person. The flipside to that is that you cannot just skip class without getting the third degree, but nonetheless anonymity is no substitute for intimacy. Home cooked meals win every time.