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LEE | Making Cornell A Place to Call Home

The other day, I watched the first episode of Reply 1994, a Korean television series that features students from various provinces who live together in a boarding house to attend college in Seoul. The first episode, titled “Seoul Person,” explores the sentiments anyone can feel about moving away from their hometown to a new city. I could resonate with so many of the scenes, and I’m certain anyone who has experienced moving to a new place or opening up a new chapter of their life would feel the same. Just as one of the main characters felt lost trying to walk in between all of the people hurriedly strolling inside Seoul Station, I had felt misplaced inside Port Authority Bus Terminal two years ago when I first embarked on my journey to Cornell. Knowing that I wasn’t too good with directions, I went over how to get from JFK Airport to Cornell’s North Campus again and again before even arriving at the United States of America.

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LEE | Beyond Our Bubble

“Open up your eyes, Sarafina!“

You know those phrases that just stay in your mind forever? This one from the 1992 film Sarafina! has lingered in my mind ever since I watched the film during my seventh grade social studies unit on apartheid. A supporting character tells the main character Sarafina to “open up [her] eyes” — look beyond immediate troubles and witness the change that is taking place around her. Sarafina initially remained silent, until this turning point made her realize that she too needed to join fellow students and use her voice to stand up against racial discrimination.

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LEE | You Belong Here

Almost a month into the fall semester, many students like myself probably find themselves questioning how they had been accepted here or whether Cornell is the right place for them. To anyone doubting themselves or feeling alienated, I want to tell you that you are not alone. Thousands of Cornellians who have also walked along the Arts Quad know what it’s like to feel lost on this large campus. Walking home from Uris Library at 3 a.m. or watching the sun set on Libe Slope, we have all been worn out at some point. It’s okay to feel hopeless.

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LEE | The Tipping Point: How Gratuities Perpetuate Abuse in the Restaurant Industry

Many aspects of American culture are admirable, but there are also quite a few things that I find odd. For instance, why does the United States use Fahrenheit or miles instead of Celsius or kilometers like almost every other country around the world? Why are there such huge gaps in between toilet stalls? Why do Americans expect waiters to constantly stop by asking if they need anything? More importantly, why are customers obligated to leave an additional tip on top of the cost of the meal itself — one that constitutes a hefty 15 to 20 percent of their bill?

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LEE | Learning to Accept My Asian Identity

Prior to moving to Dubai, UAE in the middle of High School, I never really thought about what it means to be Asian. Even though the 325 million Americans tend to place the 4.4 billion people on the Asian continent altogether under one group as “Asians,” I could clearly sense that I was an East Asian minority in a country where the vast majority of the people were Middle Eastern or South Asian. I’ve also naturally been in a part of an international community throughout most of my life and was never forced to regard myself as different. Yes, I thought that I was international in that I strive to be a global citizen, but not in the sense of being foreign or someone “other” than the majority. Here in the U.S., I have become increasingly exposed to the different identities one can embrace.

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LEE | Embracing What We Have: Retain Distinct Colleges

I really complain a lot about Cornell. I talk everyday about how much more appreciative I’d be of this place if only it were 70 degrees all year long. I think about all the opportunities Ithaca would have if it were within a two or three hour drive from a major city. I relentlessly criticize Cornell’s lack of scholastic focus and corporate culture that streamlines students from info session to info session to job. As much as I find fault with many facets of this university, I do love the place for what it is.

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LEE | A Note to Soon-to-Be Freshmen

This semester seems to have gone by faster than I would have ever imagined. The last day of classes is in a month and before I even know it, I will be done with half of my college career. It only seems like a couple of months ago that I received my acceptance letter from Cornell and was frantically searching through Youtube videos to see what Cornell’s campus and dorms look like. While the plethora of videos and pamphlets provided a basic sense of what Cornell University is like — its stunning gorges, amazing dining hall food, diverse student population, freezing cold winters — very few described the student experience. I didn’t know what to expect from the high school-to-university transition or how students discover themselves through Cornell’s often academically and socially overwhelming climate.

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LEE | The Ideal Woman

The #MeToo movement and Women’s History Month have prompted me to reflect a lot upon what it means to be a woman. Hearing stories about how many people of my gender had been discriminated against, harassed, assaulted for being born with two X chromosomes sparked anger from deep within my heart. I wasn’t necessarily shocked. I mean, a lot of these accounts are what women actually face on a daily basis. I can still recall the exact moment in ninth grade when a man pushed his front up against my butt in a subway car, as well as how shaken I was as I told him to move over.

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LEE | Home Safe Home

There are many aspects to “adulting” that I’ve learned over the past two years since my acceptance to Cornell. I applied for a student visa and traveled alone on a plane for the first time, set up and started managing my own bank account, signed my first housing contract with a landlord, got my first paid job, began to shop for groceries and cook regularly — the list could go on. I thought that achieving such milestones allowed me to become one step closer to adulthood, that I had done a pretty good job of making it through these rites of passage. I was completely wrong. One thing that I had discarded was a sense of concern for safety.

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LEE | Sickness and Stress

2018 was going to be my year. This semester would be one where I would finally expand my network, get good grades, find an internship and just feel great about myself. I returned from a de-stressed break a week before school started to get over the jet lag and prepare for the upcoming semester, by planning out classes to take and striving to become a morning person. As the start of the semester approached, I began to feel tired and I developed a tickle in my throat. I was awfully exhausted on the first day of classes and had to drag myself to Cornell Health only to find that I had a fever of over 100 degrees.