Author  Sanju Baral, MA '23

DRBU Convocation 2021 started with words from president Susan A. Rounds, “Great adversities call for great virtue.” Her words resonated with everyone as we reflected on various adversities that we had overcome in order to gather for this new school year. Susan’s noble call for “virtue” set a tone for the rest of the convocation. Faculty members welcomed new students and introduced themselves with a smile behind their facemasks. Consequently, new students went up to the stage to introduce themselves. We, new students, also shared a theme or a word of the day as we introduced ourselves. After the formal ceremony, students gathered around the DRBU courtyard to get to know other members of the community.

For me, personally, the convocation was a great opportunity to see everyone from the campus community together. With the openness of faculty and students, I got acquainted with almost everyone who was present at the convocation. During my conversations, I was interested to know the reasons they chose to come to DRBU. The first thing that I noticed was that people came from varied backgrounds. And yet, most people came for somewhat similar reasons. It was exciting to hear people’s stories. Some people had come from their year-long travel in India. Some had flown thousands of miles from the other part of the world. Some of us drove all the way across the US to finally arrive at DRBU!

Our reasons for coming here were not as different as our backgrounds. Most students shared that they came here to truly improve themselves. As I’m writing this, we have already spent several weeks at campus after the convocation. I can already see that the program really challenges one on a fundamental way to look at everyday habits and conditions. If one closely reads the texts and earnestly engages in conversations, there is no way this process does not improve the person.

So far, I have noticed that “reflection” is a huge part of living in a community here. Whether it is through meditation, discussion, reciting, or even casual conversation, we are reflecting on ourselves and the nature of the world around us every day. In addition to reflection, community work seems to be a big part of DRBU life. Students cultivate the art of working harmoniously with others as the work life can often involve tackling various situations together. The openness and authenticity of students and faculty make some aspects of the life at DRBU quite smooth. It does, on the other hand, challenge one to go deeper into self-reflection, inquiry, and reading the texts, which bring about their own sets of challenges that force one to grow.