May 17, 2021

STELLA | So Long and Thanks For All the Fish

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Everyone tells us that college is the best four years of our life. So what now, we just eat shit? Cornell sucks us in excitedly as incoming freshmen, with clubfest and orientation, just to herd us out as quickly as possible, trying to get their numbers of employed graduates up. Yesterday I was standing on-line at RPCC for Mongolian Grill and today I’m looking at apartments in Los Angeles that have in-unit dishwashers. Do I need a bed frame when I leave college?

At the end of the month, our graduation will mark the end of structure in our lives. For only children and eldest siblings, it will be the happiest day of your parents’ lives. For younger siblings, parents will miss the ceremony, still drunk on their Finger Lake wine tour. Don’t worry guys, just keep me on the cell phone plan as a graduation gift.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know what to write about in my final column. Maybe we can read that as an allegory to my confusion about what life will look like as a real adult or maybe it’s because I’m writing this in the car on my way to get a Typhoid vaccine. We’ll never know.

We came to Cornell as puppy-eyed freshman or eager transfers, ready to soak in all of the knowledge an ivy league education could offer us. We ended it with cameras off playing Words With Friends during our intro to finance lecture because we put off that business minor. The evolution of a Cornell student ought to be the real area of study.

The idealism of freshman year is ironic for us now. We came to Cornell ready for that music major, eager to put into practice what we thought we knew in bed (yeah right) and get hazed (put them all on sopro).

Now look at us. We wake up in the morning to a new grey hair, wrinkles at the corners of our smiles and wet poops. Our friend that crawled through the halls of Donlon after Slope Day to vomit all over the women’s bathroom is the future district attorney. The pre-med that jumped from the roof with skis on in the winter is the next brain surgeon.

We’ve learned a lot in the past four years both in and out of the classroom. When is a better time for a cliché than in a final column? Our graduating class had a very unique college experience, one that I wouldn’t trade. We ought to spend our last two weeks in Ithaca with the people we learned alongside. Our fraternity and sorority friends, the goofballs that lived across the hall from us in CKB, the freshman writing seminar pals, the club amigos, our future bridesmaids and groomsmen. Cornell gives us a lot over the course of four years, and as many flaws as the institution does have, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend the best four years of my life.

Country music should be the soundtrack of our final days. As happy as we are to reminisce about our four years and graduate from college (as my brother captioned his own graduation Instagram post “we done did it”), it’ll also be heart wrenching to say goodbye. Tennessee Whiskey because these weeks are going to be melancholic as fuck.

You only graduate from college once. Whether you’re celebrating with a post-grad trip, a series of family barbecues back home or a bottle of tequila, congrats 2021ers. Let’s go rule the world.

AJ Stella is graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at astella@cornellsun.com. This is the last installment of his column, Stellin’ It Like It Is.