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LEE | It’s Okay to Be Disliked

Moving from country to country while growing up, I learned to quickly adapt to new environments. I grasped how to approach people from different cultures and backgrounds and especially how to find common ground. Along the way, I strived to make myself polite and agreeable so that I would be able to fit in. Yet, this need to adjust and conform compromised my sense of self. I was molding who I was to correspond with others’ expectations of who I am meant to be rather than letting myself just be me.

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LEE | Cornell Fitness Centers Should Be Free to Students

The cost to attend Cornell University has skyrocketed each year. The tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year is $56,550, a $6,000 increase from the $50,712 I paid for my freshman year in 2016-2017. This price tag is the tuition alone, which does not consider other costs to attend Cornell, such as the student activity fee, housing, dining and much more. The total cost to attend an endowed college at this institution will amount to around $75,000 for the upcoming academic year. At a place where costs stack up higher each year, fitness memberships should not be an added burden placed on students.

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LEE | A Heartfelt Letter to High School Seniors

I recently stumbled upon a journal entry from my freshman colloquium class, an introductory course required for all incoming ILR freshmen. As I read the following excerpt from the journal dated Sept. 12, 2016, I was shocked to realize that I continued to face the same concerns and thoughts I had nearly three years ago. “At this point in time, I’m most concerned about what I would like to do with my life . .

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LEE | The Need for Fundamental Reform in the Catholic Church

Anger, sorrow, disbelief — these were just some of the emotions I felt upon receiving news that our university’s Catholic chaplain Father Carsten Martensen received allegations for sexual abuse of a minor in the 1970s. To any other individual, this may have been just one of the many recent attestations of the Roman Catholic clergy’s sexual abuse cases. Yet, I had never personally experienced, nor did I ever expect, such allegations arising from within my very own community. The news came as an utter shock and disturbance — to think that the chaplain who had provided significant guidance and wisdom throughout my time here at Cornell may have possibly exploited a child and kept silent for all these years. Catholicism has been an important part of my life, especially at Cornell.

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LEE | A Non-American’s American Dream

Prior to coming to the United States for university, I regarded the American Dream as a far-fetched ideal that had little to do with my personal life. Taking part in Ellis Island role-play simulations in middle school and reading about Willy Loman’s despairs in Death of a Salesman made me aware of the disillusionment associated with the so-called land of opportunity. While I was able to appreciate the sentiments and discussions that revolved around this ideology that has shaped much of the U.S., I saw it as a distant concept as a non-immigrant foreign student expecting to leave the country after my student visa expires. But over the past two and a half years, I, too, have developed my own American Dream. Lively discussions across campus about social mobility and success have ignited a desire to work hard to improve my circumstances, who I am and who I strive to become.

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LEE | Put Students First

Cornell prides itself in being one of the best research universities in the world. The depth and breadth of research endeavors are true to Ezra Cornell’s founding mission of “any person … any study,” and its faculty are some of the most renowned scholars in their field. Yet, the emphasis placed on scholarly activities often come at the expense of student learning and experience. Around this time every semester, I am shocked at the number of Ivy League professors who put so little effort into their syllabi that they forget to change even the term of the course from Fall 2018 to Spring 2019. It is no secret that the setup of a research university enables faculty members to thrive so long as they are actively involved in their research interests and advisement of graduate students under their direct supervision.


LEE | Growing Up While Growing Old

As we near the end of the fall semester and get into the mood for final exams and projects, we also prepare to greet a new year in hopes for better times to come. While the below-freezing weather or piling-up work are nowhere near festive, the lingering spirit of Thanksgiving along with holiday decorations and Christmas songs played in stores convey just the right amount of cheerfulness we need to pull through the few more tasks to be completed for the year to culminate. 2018 may have been a pleasant year for some, disheartening for others. But as we contemplate all the different events that have taken place within the last 12 months or so, we realize how far we’ve come to be who we are at this point in time. And whether we like it or not, we are growing up as we grow older each year.


LEE | Immigrant Nation

A little over two years since coming to Cornell, I have grown accustomed to living in the United States and find myself having adopted several minute but quintessentially American traits. I now use slang or shorthand like “legit” or “lmk” without thinking about it, engage in small talk with waiters and walk around in the rain without an umbrella. These were all strikingly different aspects of American language and culture despite my 10+ years of being educated in international schools that follow the American curriculum. Although I wouldn’t consider myself American, I have adjusted to living in the U.S. and do my part living here as a non-citizen. Academically and culturally, I provide an alternate perspective for my peers who have never travelled outside of the country.


LEE | A Case for Open Dialogue

One of the biggest culture shocks I faced coming to the United States was learning the term “political correctness.” I found it paradoxical that in this so-called land of the free people would euphemize and avoid using certain expressions out of a fear of upsetting others. I expected to be able to think critically and engage in open dialogue upon my arrival at Cornell. Yet, I could not help but feel as though many of my peers and professors attempted to protect me from what I could never fully be protected of. We condemn the numerous accounts of bias and hate speech that have taken place across campus and around the world. But we tend to forget that such actions stem from within our very own community.


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.