WISE-ROJAS | Roe v. Wade: A Queer College Student Perspective

It doesn’t help when your country is telling you that your body doesn’t matter. Being able to have control over your body is treated as a privilege today, when it should be treated as a right. Why do I (and others) suffer the consequences of laws made by a governing body that is an inaccurate representation of the American people, subject to horror stories of young women decades ago doing harmful things to terminate their pregnancies?

What I Wish I Knew About Campus Food Before Coming to Cornell

After I received my Cornell acceptance letter, I dove head-first into every Google search about campus, wondering what the food would be like. It seemed silly, but it was something that mattered to me. Navigating campus eateries, both on and off campus, I’ve mastered the perfect places to visit for every scenario. Here are the best places to eat on campus for oddly specific scenarios that I’ve encountered (while living on North Campus):

When it’s nearing 2 a.m. and you have the munchies, you go to Bear Necessities on North Campus. Those churros hit different.

WISE-ROJAS | How Race and Society Influence Gun Violence 

Content warning: This article contains mentions of gun violence and radicalism. Sitting on my bed, my phone lit up as per usual with the latest headlines. My heart dropped to my stomach when I read the headline: “Developing Story: School Shooting in an Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.”A story documenting the victims revealed how nearly all the victims were of Latinx descent. Other reports documented that the shooter posted his violent plans on Twitter, with no one taking the time to pay attention to his mental state and how it would impact others. One explained how easy it is to get an assault rifle like an AR-15 — the shooter got it as soon as he turned 18. 

These stories hurt any empathetic person to hear, no doubt about it.

WISE-ROJAS | Don’t Expect Continued Mental Health Care from Cornell

Furthermore, the role of privilege is also evident when it comes to mental health care on campus; it’s not only prevalent in college admissions and the culture of attending an Ivy League school. One of Cornell’s Mental Health Initiatives includes their Fall 2020 Mental Health and Well Being Survey. Regarding mental health disparities, students of color, those who identify as a gender out of the binary or as transgender and those whose sexual orientation doesn’t fit societal norms struggle the most. 

WISE-ROJAS | “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Harms a Generation, Normalizing Homophobia

Content warning: this article contains mention of homophobia and mental health conditions

Being gay is not a choice. It never has been and never will be; hence, students in K-12 schools need to be educated on what it means to be LGBTQ+. However, it becomes almost a strenuous task to relay this sentiment to others when bills like “Don’t Say Gay” just passed in the Florida Senate, where “instruction on gender and sexuality would be constrained in all grades,” according to a New York Times Education Briefing analysis of the bill. People know that this will obviously impact those who live in Florida. What people aren’t discussing is the impact of the bill on its potential to harm Generation Z, regardless of what state someone is in.

The Lie of the “Freshman Fifteen” and How To Navigate Eating on Cornell’s Campus

Content warning: this article contains content relating to eating disorders and relationships with food. Walking through the dining hall, I contemplate what to eat; the pizza looks good, but I don’t think that’s healthy. Ice cream, obviously, is delicious, but then I ask, “am I just using this as a way to cope with my emotions?” I decide to get a salad, wondering how some people around me just eat whatever and don’t gain weight. I wonder why I care so much about what I eat — it’s because I always have. However, there’s a fine line between caring about what you eat in a way that’s helpful and paying attention to your intake in a way that’s obsessive.

WISE-ROJAS | From “Plantations” to “Botanic Gardens” — Holding Cornell Accountable

Content warning: This article includes discussions of racism, white supremacy and homophobia. 

When I was sitting in UNILWYL 1156: Queer Identities and Beyond, last semester, I was shocked to hear the words “Cornell Plantations” and learn about its history. At first, I thought it was one of those scenarios that was made up just to educate students. On the other hand, I wasn’t in total shock. Cornell is an Ivy. No matter how diverse, it’s still old and was founded by people who never had a minority’s interest at heart.

WISE-ROJAS | Why Ivy Privilege Doesn’t Solve Sexism in Healthcare

I remember getting my acceptance letter, naturally assuming that since Cornell is a wealthy school (specifically, a $10 billion endowment), I wouldn’t have to worry about having access to healthcare. I assumed that even if appointments were booked, there would be no frustration on the part of the student. I had the sad realization that such an assumption was near impossible and utopic — even more so when someone considers the roles that gender plays. 

Because women are disposable in society, they are perceived as less worthy and tend to be gaslighted by men. “Ivy privilege” does not solve the problem of sexism in healthcare in today’s society; as a matter of fact, it exacerbates holes in the system to cater more to the needs of men and protect capitalist institutions by prioritizing money and corporate greed. 

In a weird, almost egotistical way, I assumed that any obstacles to healthcare would be overrun by my “Ivy privilege.” That’s essentially when I say, “I go to Cornell.” and people freak out. I’m automatically seen as a more respectable person (which isn’t right, because there are so many other schools that are just as good with less prestige.

Wise-Rojas | Why Professionalism Has Racist Roots, and How to Cope With It at Cornell

Essentially, everything we know about being “professional” involves being more white. Speak perfect English. Have straight hair (forget about colored hair and tattoos, that’s just horrendous, even if your tattoo is connected to your Native American heritage). Be a specific body shape and size (when the metrics of BMI were already connected to white bodies without consideration for groups like Latina women, who sometimes have naturally curvy bodies). Don’t take breaks. Grind and grind. Eating on the job could get you fired, even though eating is a natural part of being a human.