After three years of writing for The Sun, this is my last column. I find it only fitting that in this article I pay homage to the school that has defined who I am, what I believe and how I think. Because after four years atop the icy, secluded mountain that is this school, I can truly say that I am damn proud to be Cornellian.
I did not like Cornell my freshman year. That year, one of the most brutal winters in Upstate New York history slammed into the frigid tundra that is Ithaca. Due to intense wind-chill, temperatures routinely sunk below zero, and the administration sent multiple advisories telling students not to spend more than 15 minutes outside (which was pretty inconvenient for those of us that had 20 minute walks to class). The cold, combined with large freshmen lectures and the isolation of Ithaca, did not exactly instill a burning love for the Big Red.
Things began to change, however, during my sophomore year. I cut down on the number of activities I was doing and got more involved with the ones I cared most about, took higher-level classes that I enjoyed and moved to Collegetown. Those changes drastically changed my Cornell experience, and I began to truly enjoy life on the hill.
It was that year that something happened to me that I hope every Cornellian feels at some point. I was walking home on a warm autumn evening, and strolled past the clock tower. I stopped, looked around, took in the beauty of the slope and the tower, and said to myself, “This is home.” It was at that point — almost two years after I received my early decision acceptance — that I truly became a Cornellian.
My relationship with Cornell has not entirely been smooth sailing since, but it has nevertheless been a transformational and incredibly rewarding journey. I have made some of the best friends of my life, met some of the most influential people in the world, traveled extensively, and worked with the most brilliant of professors. Cornell has not been easy, but it has given me more than I could ever possibly give back.
Yet as I have changed, I have also had the incredible opportunity to watch this school go through some of its most transformational years. I have seen one interim, one acting, and three sitting presidents lead Cornell; saw the opening of the Tech campus; and witnessed numerous protests, Student Assembly conflicts and tense moments between the administration and the student body. These four years have been truly remarkable for Cornell, and I am glad to have seen them first-hand.
Among the most rewarding aspects of my journey has been writing for The Sun. I was originally brought on as the columnist charged with representing conservative views on campus. My goal was to present a side of conservatism that is not really represented in the media — a conservatism grounded in a careful approach to foreign policy, a respect for the individual and an adherence to free market ideals. I firmly believed that I needed to show the Cornell community a conservative platform that focused on topics beyond hot-button social issues.
In my time writing for The Sun, however, I became less conservative. My faith –– which preaches to care for the poor, comfort the lost and defend the defenseless –– did not seem to evenly match-up with the rugged individualism of Ayn Rand’s Republican Party. Slowly, I moved towards the center, and adopted an ideology that combines elements of conservatism and liberalism. Today, I still believe that government bureaucracy stifles innovation, a respect for the rule of law is necessary for a functioning society and that America’s growing debt is the fundamental economic challenge of our generation. However, I also believe that every citizen is entitled to quality health care, that Wall Street still lacks the necessary regulations to prevent another melt-down and that amnesty is the morally right course of action for immigration reform.
As I have become more centrist, The Sun has never once stifled my voice. This paper has provided me an outlet to present my views in any way I see fit — a respect for freedom of thought that is absent in many sectors of our society today. I will truly miss The Sun’s support, and the flood of angry emails I get whenever I publish a controversial column.
Writing for this paper has truly been one of the greatest honors of my life. What The Sun means to me, and the Cornell community as a whole, cannot be described. Cornellians read this paper every day — and it is just as much a part of the Cornell experience as walking up the Slope, RPCC brunch and life in Collegetown. But what makes The Sun truly remarkable is that it follows Cornellians once they have left the ivory tower of Ithaca. I am proud to know a ’75 graduate who still reads The Sun every day — a feat that shows just how much this paper means to the Cornell community.
With that, I bid a farewell to this paper and the school I love. Next year, I will be attending law school at a university that shall not be named. But you can bet that whenever that school shows up to Ithaca for the annual hockey game, I’ll be throwing fish on the ice and cheering for the Big Red. Because as Kyle Dake ’13 once said, “I’m always going to be a Cornellian — and that’s something really special.”
Michael Glanzel is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.Cornell Shrugged appears alternate Mondays this semester.