By TANISHA MOHAPATRA
At the end of my freshman year as I witnessed the Class of 2014 posing for graduation pictures on an overcrowded Libe Slope on a gorgeous afternoon on the eve of my 19th birthday, I found myself green. To be surrounded by some 3,000 people, a sizeable proportion of whom had found their calling, wounded me. Uncertainties and irrationalities have always been a part of me, but it was perhaps in the face of these smiling and confident young individuals that my cover started cracking.
My mother often called me a headless chicken — I make decisions on a whim, I decide on impulse. My elevator pitches change every week, I identify with a different spirit animal everyday and every fortnight, I find myself drawn to a different major. I have been chided for having the attention span of a teaspoon — I have gone from talking about how my friend who will be presenting to the New York Fed this weekend is going wrong in his analysis of interest rates to my Luna Lovegood costume for Wizarding Weekend to Fox News being driven off campus all in a flash. Someday, I am convinced I want to indulge in grass-root politics in India, on another I hope to end up at Condé Nast. And amidst all this, I also feel that if I could be a Teletubby, I would be gratified beyond measure.
I have often been ticked off for my impulsiveness, but in spite of it, I have finally decided it is a good thing, even if I am alone in that faith. It is a sign that I am actually soaking in all the vibrancy that surrounds me on this campus, that too many things inspire me. Cornell’s beauty lies in reminding me that I am here to not only push myself to study more than I ever imagined I could, but also to not stop until I find something that I can absolutely fall in love with, and further, to find more than one such thing. My indecisiveness lets me do just that, and the awesome thing about Cornell is that it has room for every avatar of me that this trait generates. I came here determined to grow, and through my indecisiveness, that is precisely what I am doing. The brilliance of this place contributes to my indecisiveness, and the brilliance of my indecisiveness is that it brings out before my own eyes everything that I care about. I find myself caring about and embracing communities that I had never been exposed to back in India.
People here often complain about having too much to do — it is a weird manifestation of a problem of plenty. There are too many classes they want to take, too many events they wish to attend without a time-turner and too many clubs to keep up with. So does Cornell want us to be lost in this chaos? For me, this university has, quite contrarily, motivated me to swear by my indecisiveness and explore. Declaring my major was something that happened to me on a dull summer afternoon when I had nothing else to do. Will I be convinced throughout my time here to stick with my major? Probably not, but maybe — hopefully I will get my BA in time, but more importantly, hopefully it will instill in me a yearning to make my education matter. In promising us “Any person, any study,” Cornell has not left us misguided, but rather has generated people who will never stop thinking, people who are not scared of uphill walks, people who will never be satisfied with a lull static, and that is what makes it and its people profound.
Tanisha is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, studying Government, Economics and Creative Writing. White mochas, Bajri and The Knox Writers’ House feature on her current list of favorite things. She blogs alternate Thursdays this semester and can be reached at [email protected].