Cornell really sucks sometimes. I do not think I have ever been in a relationship filled with more highs and lows than the one that I have with Cornell. One day, I love this place and am walking around full of joy and admiration for this institution. The next, I can barely get out of bed and see no value in any of my classes or experiences here. I’m of course nostalgic because graduation is approaching. But, I’m also thinking about what a special kind of torture Cornell is. Surviving, let alone thriving here for four years is a major feat. It’s something I know everyone in the Class of 2016 will be extremely proud of come May 29, if that day ever comes of course.
I say a special kind of torture because I’m sure that we’ve all been through some stuff over the course of our Cornell careers. Whether it was failing a class, the death of a loved one, not being able to study abroad, a bias incident or a million other possibilities, sometimes I feel like this place wasn’t built for us to succeed. Either way, we’ve almost made it and I guess I’d like to talk to us seniors for a little bit.
Remember when we first arrived on campus for orientation four years ago? We were so excited, nervous, happy, anxious, overjoyed and afraid. Our minds were overwhelmed by how big this campus felt, with anxiety about making friends and doing well in our classes (at least my mind was). Early on, you’d talk to anyone you saw because what did you have to lose? We were all in the same boat — all trying to figure out how the hell we were going to figure this place out. And as the semester went on, we settled in, developed some semblance of a routine, maybe got involved in an organization or two on campus, and found a group of people to consider friends that we might still be close with today.
Freshman year ended and we spent the summer interning, regrouping, traveling or hanging out at home before coming back and taking another stab at Cornell our sophomore year. Maybe, for you, this was when things started to look up, I know it is when things did for me. Look up sure, but not get 100 percent better. We had a better idea of what we were doing, but honestly, we were still kind of wandering around like deer in headlights. I guess that’s why they called us underclassmen, because we just didn’t have our shit together. Sophomore year was hard. It’s one of the hardest at Cornell, but we survived and entered our junior year overjoyed at the prospect that we were one year away from graduation. Junior year came and went with all the what the hell am I going to do this summer and how am I going to get a job after graduation stress that it brings. And then, senior year arrived. If you already had your post-grad plans together then it was lit. But for those of who didn’t and still don’t, being asked “so what are you doing after graduation” might have been worse than anything else Cornell threw at us. I always wondered, why are people asking me that? Don’t they realize that if I knew, they probably would know too?
All the bullshit aside, guess what, we’re making it. We made it. We took lemons, and made lemonade.
Gabrielle Hickmon is a senior in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gabbing with Gabby appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.