Cowboys and Aliens

When we’re connected to others, we become better people,” said Carnegie Mellon University’s Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture. At Carnegie Mellon you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse community of scholars, artists and innovators. Given the students, faculty, staff and resources that have been available to you as a student, how have you collaborated with others, in or out of the classroom? Or, what lessons have you learned from working with others in the past, that might shape your experiences in the future?


After the last shot had been fired, I realized I had been holding my breath. As fatigued comrades began to scoop stray bullets from the ground and put them into sacks containing plastic props, I took my first stilted breaths in four weeks. We had survived. My friends and I had successfully conducted our first Fall Festival as newly appointed Teen Ministers in our church.

During my childhood, the Fall Festival epitomised the bubble I lived in. Adults murmured in agreement underneath copper tinged trees as we, the costume-clad children, dashed from stand to stand. The pumpkin filled halls of our church were safe spaces for the beliefs our families shared. I never questioned why we worshipped there every Sunday without fail, or why my parents disapproved of children who indulged in ghoulish Halloween themes. I remained firmly within my circle of friends who affirmed my inherited beliefs until the day Miss Beth, the church secretary, walked into our Bible study group. Miss Beth explained the roles of the Teen Ministers in organising the Fall Festival but, for the first time, we faced the challenge of being chronically understaffed. We would have to seek volunteers outside of our bubble.

Persuading others to participate in our...

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