101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 80

This evening, I got to attend my favourite class this semester. It’s a weekly evening seminar/directed-reading course, led by a fantastic professor on a pro-bono basis.

There are fifteen of us in the class. Together, we’re reading through Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century — the headline-hogging, politically and ideologically controversial book about wealth inequality. Tonight was our first official seminar and it felt like how education should be. We shared in discussions and conversations about the first two chapters, exploring candidly and collectively about its meaning and significance.

After class, we went out for dinner and drinks together. Part of why I love the class is that I’m good friends with the majority of people in it. But there are a couple folks who I hadn’t met before. One of them is Alex, and he is my stranger of the day. I’m really glad that I got to learn more about him tonight.

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Alex is in his fifth year of university, pursuing a double major in international relations and economics. And with that background, he wants to become not a diplomat, but a doctor. In fact, he just finished writing his medical school exams. He’s drawn to medicine because he feels as though becoming a doctor is one of the best ways you can help other people. His dream is to work in a developing country — perhaps at the Syrian borders. He explained that these are places where good doctors are needed more than ever, and he feels like he would be able to make a difference for the people living through all of the trauma and turmoil.

In Alex’s free time, he loves skiing and traveling.

His advice? “Be outgoing!” He explained that getting out there and not being shy about it can lead to open doors and opportunities galore. He wasn’t always outgoing in this way, but towards the end of high school he started to become more and more outgoing and he considers it to be one of the best decisions he’s made.

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