My summer before college, I excitedly attended a local acceptance BBQ hosted by the Cornell Club of Rockland County, N.Y., in hopes of befriending other newly accepted students. The event started off with the same awkwardness I often faced with new beginnings, but it shortly faded once a few current students introduced themselves and their involvements on campus. Lindsay Bass, The Sun’s business manager in 2010, spoke very highly and warmly about the newspaper at the BBQ. As a newly accepted English major I jumped at the opportunity to introduce myself to her and find out how I too could get involved with the paper. Needless to say, since joining The Cornell Daily Sun in August of my freshman year, it has been the epicenter of my life at Cornell.
At the time I was very proud of myself for joining an organization on campus that related to my major. It made sense, and I was content. That spring though, I decided to take a Financial Accounting course. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed learning about all of the different types of transactions and how items flowed through the statements. I realized that perhaps it would be wiser to major in Applied Economics and Management, since I was growing tired of writing and worried I would lose my passion for it. I already had The Sun as an outlet, which sufficed my interest in being close to print media.
Through taking Financial Accounting and going to office hours weekly, I met an “angel investor,” as I would like to call him, who believed in my unlocked potential. Prof. Jack Little, AEM, realized my innate strengths, but knew I had become stagnant besides taking up an interest in transferring to AEM. He requested my resume for review and suggested I become more involved on campus. I was shocked at this suggestion because I figured transferring to AEM, working at The Sun and being in a social sorority was quite a handful already as a freshman. I thought: ‘Wasn’t this the year to gradually adjust to college?’
Looking back I realize that too many of us place limits on ourselves; we think what we are doing is enough. However, at the time I was already a semester and a half deep into Cornell’s culture. Fortunately, as a freshman I respected and trusted Prof. Little’s guidance enough to apply to organizations I found particularly interesting. Throughout my four years I ended up joining the 2013 Convocation Committee, learning a great deal from my business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, and working hard to attain a few internships in financial services that led to my ultimate career choice in consulting.
If I have realized anything out of these last four years besides taking the time to listen to people’s advice and create a web of connections, it is to not stay stagnant. Even if you think you are content with how your life is going, try to push yourself a little further. I would say we all are determined individuals here at Cornell, but sometimes being too proud of our current accomplishments block us from making new ones. I received some wisdom a few weeks ago from Adam Raveret ’12, a Delta Sigma Pi alumnus, who sent the current seniors great advice about life after graduation: “[After graduation], you will not have any more benchmarks to reassure you that you are on the ‘right track.’ You will set your own goals and make your own decisions on how to achieve them.”
In reading his “Ode to a Senior Year,” I recognized it as the very same learning lesson Prof. Little had been trying to bestow upon me my freshman year, and what I have been living by ever since.
You should still be proud of your accomplishments and reflect on how far you have come, but not for long, as we Cornellians are still so young and have so many opportunities to seize, or even create ourselves. If you are a freshman, take your resume, check out the long list of organizations on campus and fill in those organizations you want to join on a fantasy resume (of course, don’t apply to internships with your fantasy resume). Create the resume that you want to have by your sophomore spring. Then, go out and apply. Once you enter these organizations, don’t just be a member in paper, but try to contribute and make an impact. College is the best time to take risks and make mistakes.
And, if you are a senior, take Prof. Little’s and Adam’s advice. We all have made great accomplishments here at Cornell, but let’s not let that drive dwindle once we enter the whirlwind of our careers. Take the time the summer before you start working to sit down and write out a list of goals, and try to start working on one even before your start date. We are young and full of energy. Let’s not let that go to waste.
Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2013! I cannot wait to hear about all of the great things to come once we show the world what we have to offer. Each and every one of us is a Cornellian for life.
Helene Beauchemin is graduating from the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and served as the 130th business manager of The Sun. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original Author: Helene Beauchemin