One of the great things about being a part of a program like Elon is the opportunity to participate in activities that connect us with the community. During the second week of February I was able to attend a prayer vigil with some classmates, and it was a moving and memorable experience. The cold wind didn’t keep people away from the Burlington Masjid; on the contrary, it seemed to bring everyone a little closer. People of all faiths and all ages gathered together to pray for “Love’s light to shine in the darkness,” holding up candles as they circled the mosque in a symbol of solidarity. A number of Elon faculty, undergraduate students, and community connected with Elon were in attendance, and everyone received a warm welcome. At the end of the vigil, everyone gathered in the center of the circle and held up their candles as a prayer was said, offering a message of love and hope in uncertain times. Hugs and smiles were shared (along with some donuts and coffee!), and I left not only feeling closer to my classmates, but also to the people I had just met.
After spending the first few weeks burrowing into study rooms and preparing to tackle the mountain of work ahead, it was easy for me to feel like I was living in a bubble. To an extent, I think all of us are living in a bubble. That is the nature of the didactic portion of our education; we spend most of our time in one building, and we seldom stray from the route between there and home. This phase is necessary, but it is only temporary, and it will change very soon as we venture out into the community to practice our skills and volunteer in clinics, hold fundraisers, and participate in community outreach. The vigil that evening was a good opportunity to step away from the books and into the outside world, where we will be practicing PAs in the not-so-distant future.