Deng

DENG | What Icarus Learned

One of the most humbling conversations I’ve had this past year was with a hair stylist. I didn’t have the best first impression because she seemed a bit aloof and curt. But as strands of my hair fell, so did her initial coolness. I learned that she recently became a single parent and was struggling to raise her daughter, financially and emotionally. “Not having the best day,” she admitted.

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PIETSCH | From Birkenstocks to Black Heels

A few days before I started classes at Cornell, I walked into the Human Ecology Building for the first time. I frantically called my sister, a recent Cornell alumna, at least four times to ask her how to find the building. This followed two public phone calls to my mom — in tears. I wanted to find my classrooms on the overwhelming campus before the first day. When I finally walked inside, what I found was more staggering than the dread of being a new student as a sophomore.

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REDDY | 22

Warning: The following content contains sensitive material about mental health and relationships.I always imagined my last column to be an “I proved you wrong” to all my nonexistent haters. After listing out all that I’ve been through over the past five years — where are all my super seniors at? — I would say “I did it.” I overcame! Of course, that sentiment is there, and it’s always one to rely on when you just can’t see the light. In that type of reflection, what I would omit is the fact that I have to give a presentation in Spanish that will make or break whether I pass the course or not — whether I graduate or not.

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GUEST ROOM | An Open Letter to Cornell and the President’s Council of Cornell Women

When I first came to Cornell, I felt out of place. I am a first-generation student of color from a working-class background. My background made it so that I experienced macro and microaggressions constantly at Cornell — from being tokenized to being unable to navigate academic spaces that required cultural capital and “know-how” that I didn’t have. No one cared to demystify for me. It was only through the years that I created community and a sense of belonging by forging my own spaces and investing in issues and events that were important to me.

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LIEBERMAN | Modern Love — A Different Type of DM

At around one o’clock in the morning, I wrap my comforter around me and tap the folded, paper-plane icon in the top right corner of the Instagram home page. I begin to scroll through my inbox — one hand holding the phone above my face and the other hand shoveling Trader Joe’s cookie butter into my mouth. I lie in bed like this, searching for the username “modernageboy” every Friday night. After the various bars close and the house party speakers shut off, when the lines at the taco truck are longest, I am in my creaky, Collegetown apartment searching for a particular thread of Instagram direct messages. I got the idea for this Friday night ritual from a girl I met at group therapy.

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GUEST ROOM | Graduate Students: Who are We?

Think of a graduate student. We’re the chemistry teaching assistant who gave you consistent B’s on lab reports and the first-year writing seminar instructor who invited you to their office to talk about how they could support you. We’re the sleep-deprived, scatter-brained, sixth-year, glassware-dirtying person that you meet each morning. We’re the second-year Ph.D. student crying in an office as we stress about our upcoming qualifying exam. We graduate students interact with nearly every group on campus, but we’re often dismissed as an isolated, uninvested population that is just here to finish a degree.

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DEMASSA & DELGADO | Sun Columnists’ Reflections

We’ve written about making dining halls safer for those with allergies, discarding iClickers, discrimination at an alumni conference and lofty student election campaign promises. After eight columns, a slew of emails — both accordant and contentious — and letters to the editor, we now see writing in a whole new light. Those that Facebook has nominated as The Sun’s “Top Fans” keep us on our toes. As columnists, we read other columns religiously, follow campus politics and the latest with President Martha Pollack, and stay up to date with the manifold events that have unfolded on campus this year: the introduction of American Sign Language, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, the 50th anniversary of the Willard Straight Takeover and various movements for climate justice, housing and mental health reform. It was not until we became columnists that we realized why student organizing matters in addressing the intersection of campus interests and identities.

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GROSKAUFMANIS | Odds and Ends

It only took a few hours after my brother dropped me off at my freshman dorm for me to text him something along the lines of “I don’t think I’m going to like it here.” In some ways I was right. But  in more ways, I was wrong. My time at Cornell has since followed a pretty common formula: I arrived and found that this school is not necessarily the easiest place to be immediately happy. Eventually I started to like it more, recently I grew to love it and now it’s almost time for me to leave. I imagined before coming here that my favorite moments would conform to Cornell-y college tropes: throwing fish onto the ice at hockey games with some kind of regularity and watching daily sunsets over Libe Slope.

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KAMBHAMPATY | Vampire Weekly

Sometime sophomore year of high school, 2013
“A-Punk” plays on the radio while my friend Elizabeth and I are driving back from a high school tennis match. The following month
I’ve refused to listen to anything but Contra for this whole period of time. The rest of high school
My confusion with being a person of color in a predominantly white high school, love for the Polo Bear, lust and disappointment with life and fascination with Futura are all manifested, fostered and finally made sense of through Vampire Weekend’s lyrics and work. Freshman year through the first half of sophomore year of college
I don’t listen to Vampire Weekend as religiously as I did during my formative years as an angsty adolescent who hated her suburban hometown, but they remained part of the background music of my life throughout the years. The winter of sophomore year
I move to the Upper West Side of New York to complete a fashion internship.

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DZODZOMENYO | Beyond Water Fountain Freedom

It’s possible I wouldn’t be writing to you as a black student on this campus without the occurrence of the Willard Straight Hall Takeover in 1969. This semester marked the 50th anniversary of the event, and despite a 12-page Sun special issue, many students know nothing about its history. The Takeover forced the University and institutions nationwide not only to accept black students as names on the registrar but to recognize us as part of its fabric. As a black woman on this campus, there is no way I could have made it this far in my Cornell career without acknowledging the men and women who paved the way for the rest of us. Yet so many don’t even know what it is.