For my first five quarters at Northwestern, I kept a pretty streamlined schedule. Specifically, I scheduled all my classes around my language requirement. So when I found myself finished with French, I let myself run a little wild with the class selections. In addition to my two major classes for Communication Studies, I enrolled in both a Neuroscience course and a Poetry seminar. Both have contributed to making this one of the most fun and interesting quarters I’ve had at Northwestern, but this week I had a particularly special experience through my poetry class.
As part of the course, we are required to attend two poetry readings in the community. This involves finding where to go, how to get there, and who to listen to. Because I’m not familiar with the Chicago poetry scene, I found myself scrambling to find places to go. Hesitantly, I messaged one of the girls in my class and asked if she had any suggestions.
Four hours later I was on a CTA train full of Cubs fans and commuters, chatting with the girl who I had never gotten to know before. We were headed into the heart of downtown Chicago to attend a reading at The Poetry Foundation’s Annual Spring Party. When we arrived, we wandered into a luxurious terrace, masked on a city street by a black façade. I immediately felt like I was walking into Narnia. This feeling continued as we entered the beautiful building lined with shelves of books and full of people modeling fabulous personal styles. Simultaneously, my new friend and I commented on how beautiful the atmosphere was.
As two outsiders stumbling into a new seemingly magical world, we did not feel out of place for long. We found ourselves immersed in the unbelievable stories and exquisite works of the poets. Each of the three readers had come from such different backgrounds and wrote so differently from one another, that each brought a new level of enjoyment to the room. It was not your stereotypical poetry reading. People laughed out loud and clapped loudly. Everyone relaxed and enjoyed themselves, and I found myself speaking more and more with the girl from my class.
While I went on the adventure as a requirement, I learned a lot of new things. First, I learned that while making new friends can be scary, it pays off to go somewhere one- on- one with somebody, even if you only know them from class. It reminds you of the simplicity of kindergarten instant best friends. Secondly, I learned about a whole new community of people in Chicago. My new friend and I have already planned to attend several different poetry readings throughout the city over the next few weeks. I could not be more thankful that a class pushed me out of my comfort zone into new, rewarding experiences.