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POORE | Not How I Planned to Say Goodbye

This Friday, my friends and I held a going away celebration for one of us who was leaving. He ended up having to leave campus earlier that day, so at night it was just us, celebrating alone. The party ended in the only way it ever could’ve: tears. We cried gracelessly on the floor, as much about the uncertainty of our futures as about the nostalgia of our pasts. This weekend has been filled with so many goodbyes.

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POORE | I Think I’m Getting Empathied Out

Warning: The following content contains sensitive material about suicide. I used to believe that empathy was the key to unity without understanding what it meant. So in my sophomore spring I did Empathy, Assistance, and Referral Service training, the on-campus peer counseling system, and last week I attended the first meeting of Education 2610, also known as Intergroup Dialogue Project. In EARS training and in IDP, we did active listening exercises in pairs. One person would talk for three minutes without the other responding.

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POORE | Change Your Major (Before It’s Too Late)

As a student advisor for the biology major, I’ve listened to two cohorts of bright-eyed first year students talk excitedly about writing seminars, languages courses and PE classes. I’ve yet to hear one say they enjoy general chemistry, intro to cell bio or any other class that’s actually related to biology. It’s an implicit understanding between us that those classes are merely supposed to be survived rather than enjoyed. As a senior, then, I’m nothing if not a survivor. I’ve survived general chemistry to then survive organic chemistry to then survive biochemistry, genetics and physics.

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POORE | Being an Intellectual Is Nice, but I Still Need a Job

Every day, I pass by the wise words of former Cornell President Hunter R. Rawlings III in Goldwin Smith gatekeeping the entrance to the Temple of Zeus: “Genuine education is not a commodity, it is the awakening of a human being.”

Though I will not argue here about whether the education at Cornell is to be considered genuine or not, I have often thought that if it costs over $60,000 a year to awaken myself, I’d much rather have stayed in bed. I assume that the notion of a genuine education is tightly linked to age-old sayings like “explore your interests” and “follow your passion.” And I assume that awakening a human being probably involves something more than an alarm clock. The author of the quote I pass each day was probably thinking in more abstract terms of becoming an engaged citizen and a better person. But isn’t spending a couple hundred thousand dollars to allow clueless 18 year-olds to spend four years removed from society in the pursuit of vague ideas like self-improvement and intellectual rigor just a way to say that you’re rich? I didn’t come to Cornell to become a better person.

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POORE | Remember What It Means to Be a Student

This past week has been a banner week for me. When pre-enroll opened on Monday, I had resolved on taking Hotelie wines, CALS wines, Magic Mushrooms and not much else. Feeling disillusioned from academia, I planned to spend my last semester at Cornell like a petulant child, sipping wine Tuesday through Thursday (with no class on Monday or Friday) and generally making myself as troublesome and acid to the institution as I could manage. But then I had a meeting with my advisor to submit my application to graduate. Somehow, we ended up talking about the purpose of the modern university.

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POORE | Work on Your Empathy, Not Your Resume

In lab for one of my classes last week, I (Colton) counted the teeth of a mammal skull in order to identify the organism as Mephitis mephitis — the striped skunk — Family Mephitidae, Order Carnivora. And at the same time, Cynthia sat in a lecture in which she did nothing but grade her own problem set for the full hour and 15 minutes. Afterwards we met up, as we have done frequently over the past two years, to discuss how utterly cheated Cornell has made us feel — to talk about how the reality of college has been so different from the fantasy we were originally sold. The collegiate vision Cornell promised us was intellectual curiosity. We would spend four years among the brightest and most talented of our peers.