LEE | Allowing Me to Be Me

Thinking this would pretty much be the last break I get to spend without being too fixated on academics or career-related activities, I had a very unproductive break. I had vowed to start prepping for next semester and to exercise more, but neither materialized as expected. But as unproductive as it was, I actually had quite a fulfilling break. For the first time, I had the chance to explore my hometown, Seoul, without being preoccupied with some sort of task like frantically trying to memorize SAT vocabulary. I also stepped out of my comfort zone going out of my way to get to know and meet new people.

lee 11-28

LEE | The Average Cornellian

I recently came upon my high school’s new Facebook page and browsed through to see how much has changed in the year and a half since I left. The administration had finally given into students and parents’ wishes for improved facilities because really, the ceilings should not have leaked  every time it rained. Along with the irritation I felt wishing such changes were implemented back when I was there, I spent a lot of time thinking about how much my own life has changed since I graduated. Like many other students here, I was the student with great extracurricular activities and good academic standing. I had big dreams before embarking on my Cornell journey.

lee 11-14

LEE | Why is Cornell So Bland?

Two weeks ago, my friend who attends Princeton visited Cornell to see me and another friend. It was during the middle of a busy week of prelims and quizzes, so I didn’t expect to be able to show her much. I mean what is there really to show around campus and in Ithaca other than natural scenery, the A.D. White Library and perhaps the Commons? What’s worse, the weather was forecasted to rain all week as per usual, and we were supposed to get our first semi-winter weather at around 40 degrees. As rain poured down heavier than I had seen in weeks, I thought to myself, “Why oh why did I invite her all the way here to take a two-hour train ride and a five-hour bus ride, only to see pretty much nothing in bad weather?”  Even my friends were surprised at the fact that someone would come all the way to Cornell just to see their friend.

opinion web graphic

LEE | The ‘Labor’ in Industrial and Labor Relations

“This system of inherent modern day slavery was sure to have no end without fundamental solutions. This realization is what inspired me to pursue the study of the world of work to achieve my lifelong goal of improving the lives of others.”

This is a phrase from my ILR writing supplement for the Common App, submitted two years ago on this day. I stumbled upon this document last week searching for Common App materials that could be of any help for a current high school senior writing her essay. Rereading what had gotten me to this place, this utterly idiosyncratic school called ILR, I was nothing short of shocked. Surprised at how passionate I was, stunned by how much my interests have changed within such a short span of time.

opinion web graphic

LEE | The Fundamental Deficit

Last week, I felt a thrust on my bottom left wisdom tooth. It was initially a slight ache that I simply ignored, only to find that the throbbing and discomfort expanded more and more. When I developed a twinge that was too much to bear, I finally considered visiting Cornell Health, but I quickly remembered that my $2,712 Student Health Plan does not cover dental costs. That’s because this year, I had opted not to spend the extra $278 on Cornell’s dental plan insurance, knowing that last year I hadn’t used a penny of any health plan and had essentially wasted $3,000. The Cornell Student Health Plan, administered by Aetna, is mandatory for all international students due to U.S. immigration and Cornell requirements.

lee 10-3

LEE | Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere

I never expected the shift from freshman to sophomore year to be so drastic. Living on North Campus again makes me feel like I am part freshman, and walking the extra five minutes down Thurston was the only distinction I initially noticed. I still walk along the same Thurston Ave. bridge (although now also occasionally the Suspension Bridge) to class each morning feeling like an assembly line worker, I still spend most of my time in Ives, and I still pull all nighters before the deadline for an assignment. Yet over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that there’s actually quite a big distinction between freshman and sophomore year.

opinion web graphic

LEE | Corporate Cornell

The Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City held a grand opening last week, marking a new era for both Cornell and New York City. In recent years, Cornell has invested substantially in the growing realm of technology and innovation embodied by the 2014 opening of the $60 million Bill and Melinda Gates Hall dedicated to computing and information science. New York City’s hopes of upsizing its tech presence was the perfect match for Cornell’s hunger to expand into tech and the city. I am thrilled to see that Cornell is becoming more involved with technology research and application in America’s most vibrant and dynamic city. It’s great that Cornell has widened its presence in New York City, especially since the Ithaca campus location is not the most appealing to investors and students alike.

opinion web graphic

LEE | Different Levels of Privilege

These past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about privilege and what it means. Sure, at Cornell we often talk about how privileged we are to be here at this selective institution, to be able to take classes from distinguished professors, to be surrounded by peers of all backgrounds and interests. We hear it so often from guest speakers who speak about their less fortunate college careers or from peer panelists who mention how they were able to get the job offer they wanted because of the Cornell title. The word privilege is used so frequently that it has become a dreaded “oh that again” kind of topic. I still remember my first day here, a little over a year ago.

opinion web graphic

LEE | A Lack of “Break” in Summer Break

Throughout second semester of freshman year I was anxious to find an internship for my first college summer. As a person who operates better under pressure and likes learning new things and meeting new people, I felt that the nearly three months of break would be meaningless if I could not be formally involved with some type of work. Yet I was unable to meet the requirements for almost all of the internship positions of interest. While I understood that it would be rare for a company to hire a college freshman with little to no professional experience, it was difficult getting used to limitations and rejections. Fortunately, I had the privilege of being a part of ILR’s High Road Fellowship program.

S for opinion

LEE | Reflections from a Not-So-Freshman Student

People around me often ask why I’m so cynical, why my columns are always so scornful, why I view the world in such a negative light. Perhaps I merely think that there’s always something to criticize. Perhaps having been taught to ask questions from an early age has created for me a dismal view of the world. My pessimistic attitude may have stemmed from the dismissive remarks I read in The Sun’s comments section. Or maybe it’s simply due to my love for writing, which thankfully hasn’t receded yet despite the countless papers and essays I’ve had to write as an ILR major (which I think is equally “I Love wRiting” as much as it is notoriously known to be “I Love Reading”).