By REBEKAH FOSTER
Days after most of Cornell’s student body finished final exams and headed home last semester, 980 students — the largest number in Cornell’s history — graduated in a Dec. 21 ceremony at Barton Hall.
The larger number of students who graduated in January had a range of reasons for making the decision.
“Graduating early was kind of a spontaneous decision once I found out I had enough credits, so it’s not like I was consciously trying to load up on credits beforehand,” said Andrea Du ’14, who graduated one semester early this winter. “I was planning my senior courses and realized that I could finish all of my graduation requirements in one semester, so I figured, why not save on tuition money?”
Though Du fears she may have missed out on taking elective courses, since she focused mainly on distribution requirements and courses for her major to graduate early, she is not worried about early graduation affecting her overall Cornell experience.
Many students at the December ceremony were graduating a semester late, some because they took time off from Cornell, and others because they wanted to take more classes outside their major.
“I actually took a semester off and graduated a little later than expected,” said Andrea Sanchez ’13. “I just decided to take the last course I had in my major and graduated.”
While Sanchez was initially disappointed to see her friends graduate last May, she now sees the benefits of her extra semester at Cornell.
“At first it was kind of a bummer to see most of my friends graduate in May, but being at Cornell longer has allowed me to seek more opportunities in starting a pre-medical club for underrepresented minorities in medicine, she said.
Sanchez also added that her extra time gave her the opportunity to branch out and explore the city of Ithaca.
“I also made more friends, and I even got to explore Ithaca more, none of which I would have done if I would have left in May.”
Akash Tiwari ’13 who also decided to stay for an extra semester, stayed to take more classes in the government and economics departments even though he could have completed everything on time, he said.
“There are a lot of people who were like me and stayed an extra semester,” he said.
In addition to the students graduating this winter, five Cornell staff members earned graduate or professional degrees, and a student in the Cornell Tech program in New York City received the school’s first Master of Engineering degree.