July 8, 2020

KHAKH | All My Places

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Low Rise 7. 210 Thurston. 301 College. 161 Ho Plaza. 215 Garden. 139 W. State. This is not a list of addresses, but the places in Ithaca I grew to call my homes away from home over the past four years. These are the communities that embraced me, challenged me, encouraged me and shaped me to be the graduate I am today.

From the Plant Sciences building where I wrote my first Sun article in my first month as a freshman about the blooming of the Titan Arum to the Cornell Daily Sun office downtown, where I edited articles and published pages, so many vivid moments and lessons come to mind. Most importantly, I am grateful to The Sun, especially my beloved Science section, for the opportunities to write deep dives, to spotlight research and to communicate across disciplines.

My first Sun article, set in one of my favorite places on campus, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory, actually propelled me to further explore the breadth of biological sciences, across humans, animals and plants. From my first deep dive about medicinal plants, titled Roots, Shoots, and a Dash of Medicine, to my last article highlighting alternative plant-based milks, I thank the Sun for the openness of journalism, and thank the interdisciplinary nature of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for the opportunities to explore and critically think outside of the box.

I would be remiss if I did not take the time to tribute more moments from all my places.

If not at The Sun, I could be found at Olin Library, where I spent endless hours studying or Libe Café, where I spent endless hours laughing with friends. After a lunch at Terrace, I could be seen at Kennedy Hall, where I took a majority of my Biology and Society classes and where I learned to burst my bubble, challenge assumptions and be a servant leader when engaging in community-based initiatives through my job at Engaged Cornell. As for taking care of my morning glory plants for my research experiments, I spent semesters running around the purple greenhouse. If unpacking social constructs and designing plans to restructure the world, you could find me and my IDPeople outside the Computing and Communications Center, hopefully picnicking on the Ag Quad under the Ithaca sun. Of course, after all the hustle and bustle of campus, nothing could make me smile wider than returning to the most esteemed place in Collegetown: Apartment 2A.

Each place has had its own challenges, but each challenge was an opportunity and each opportunity was a moment of growth and success, both academically and personally. As I traveled from place to place, along my way, I found lifelong advisors, teachers and the most unique and special best friends.

What’s most incredible, to me, is that all my places and all my people have helped me discover my life passion. In four years, thank you all, for preparing me and fueling me to achieve my dreams to build a world where medicine focuses not only on biology but also environmental sustainability and health equity. For this revelation, I could not be more grateful and blessed for all the most amazing years of learning at all my places with all my people.

North Campus. Collegetown. Olin Library. My cherished Ag Quad. Dearest Harold. My favorite apartment 2A. Last but not least, The Cornell Daily Sun.

Thank you to all my places and all my people for making every day of college full of fun experiments and learning moments. From my first Cornell Days to my third CALS day, my entire time here has been full of wondrous humans, endless and eye-opening activities, enlightening coursework, and one-of-a-kind Big Red moments.

As I daydream about campus and miss Ithaca from quarantine, I recall more than just the buildings, but I miss my communities, my friends, my mentors and my homes.

Four years ago, I was joyfully crying Big Red, here I come.

Today I say, with bittersweet tears, Big Red, here I go.

Thank you, Cornell, you’ll always be my home.


Chenab Khakh is graduating from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She was Assistance Science Editor on the 136th Editorial Board.