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LIEBERMAN | Platonic Love Is a Lifeboat

This is my last column of my last fall semester at Cornell. I went home for break, where my parents, and my friends’ parents and my parents’ friends all wanted to hear how I was doing and if I was ready to be done. My answers were always “good,” and “kind of.” I’m ready to be done only in the sense that I’m going to pass astronomy, and I’m finishing my creative writing concentration, and I paid all my parking tickets and I returned all my library books. In all the less explainable — but more serious— ways, I’m petrified and clumsy in trying to prove my own preparedness. I cried over a cover letter last week, I still haven’t memorized my student I.D. number, I can’t decide if I’m writing a thesis and I was lying when I said I returned all of my library books.

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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.

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MORADI | Goodbye to All That

I have never felt as young as I did last week, at 21, sitting behind my baba in a hospital room as a nurse explained some pre- and post-op procedures that he’d have to undergo. Baba kept repeating the same lines he had been for the past few days: I don’t have high blood pressure, I don’t have diabetes or high cholesterol, I exercise, I eat well. Why is this happening to me? Everything the nurse said that day came with sporadic yet pregnant glances in my direction. Baba was genetically predisposed for these heart problems, so chances are I’ve inherited them too, just as I did his big eyes and perpetual nervousness.

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PARK | Subtle Asian Traits

When I was in elementary school, my mom tried to pack me Korean food for lunch. The ensuing judgemental glances and whispers about my “stinky food” in the cafeteria prompted me to march home and shut that down. From then on, I brought white lunches to school and ate Korean dinners at home. Growing up Asian in a primarily white town, I was surrounded by people whose understanding of my culture was limited to math, tiger parents and Kim Jong-il. In order to fit in, I suppressed the parts of my identity that made me different and I never really gave it much thought until joining a Facebook group called Subtle Asian Traits.

Guest Room

GUEST ROOM | The Marriott Strike: A Call to Action for Cornellians

In a news story straight out of HADM: 4810: Labor Relations in the Hospitality Industry, thousands of UNITE HERE Marriott workers went on the “One Job Should Be Enough” strike starting October 4 across nine different U.S. tourism locations. A marriage of ILR and Hotel School studies, workers were — and still are — protesting a number of issues including stagnant wages, unstable work hours, inadequate health care and unsafe workloads despite Marriott’s rise in profits since the recession. While a few striking locations have reached agreements, San Francisco’s Marriott Hotel Strike will last through Thanksgiving week. Various locations in Hawaii are also still on UNITE HERE’s travel alert which lists which hotels are striking. In addition to the strike, temporary workers at the Marriott Marquis are alleging labor violations including retaliation and inadequate or delayed pay.

Voters filling out their ballots in the polling station at St. Luke Lutheran Church Tuesday.

VALDETARO | Let 16-Year-Olds Vote (A Little Bit)

After spending several hours in The Sun’s newsroom writing for the election special edition, I got home at 2:00 a.m. on election night only for both of my roommates to confirm that neither of them had voted, even after we had discussed it numerous times throughout the semester. Although not a scientific survey, when combined with the multiple people in my orchestra who told me both before and after the election that they either weren’t planning to or didn’t vote, I now better understand a scientific Harvard Institute of Politics survey in which only 40 percent, or two in five, people aged 18-29 years old said they were likely to vote. I don’t solely blame my roommates or fellow orchestra members for not voting, though. Despite the best efforts of groups that did voter registration, chalked on Ho Plaza and arranged free rides to the polls for students, voting from college is a difficult process. Additionally, college is the first time that many students are eligible to cast a ballot, meaning that voting in any capacity is an unfamiliar act.

Guest Room

GUEST ROOM | How Our Courses are Designed for Chris from Long Island

For the past two weeks or so, my economics professor has been using golf examples to explain a popular behavioral economic model to us. When a student raised their hand and asked, “Will questions like this be on the exam? What if we aren’t familiar with the rules of golf?” The professor responded, as any considerate and fair one would, that if he were to use golf on the exam, he’d properly cite the rules at the top of the page. The student contested, saying that people who are already familiar with the sport will still have an advantage. The professor assured the student not to worry, that he probably wouldn’t use a golf example on the exam and would use a concept we’d all surely be familiar with.

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WANG | Fighting Words

Wang Dan is still alive, somehow. The Tiananmen Protest activist is perhaps the most famous almost casualty of the restlessness that swept through the Chinese youth during the late ’80s and early ’90s. Jailed, attacked and almost assassinated, the man who organized one of the most significant protests in modern history when he was still a freshman in college arrived last week at Cornell to a packed auditorium. On first glance, he’s a less than imposing man. But then listen a little, and the ferocious takes on the state of modern Chinese society roll out rapid-fire style.

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GROSKAUFMANIS | Actions Speak Louder Than Wardrobes

Today’s cover of the New Yorker shows Barry Blitt’s “Welcome to Congress,” a moving visual tribute to the historic number of women who have been elected to serve in the Congress. The cartoon features figures that appear to be Sharice Davids J.D. ’10, one of the first female Native Americans elected to Congress and the first openly LGBTQ representative elected from Kansas, Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29 is the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress. By now most of us have heard these names and registered these accomplishments, but the New Yorker cover really communicates how this election cycle was a monumental deviation from the status quo. However, an obvious consequence of change is pushback, and not all media has been as welcoming to this group of trailblazers. Last week, the internet erupted into controversy over, of all things, Ocasio-Cortez’s wardrobe — which is a really disappointing sentence to be typing in 2018.

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CHANG | Increase Asian-American Power in Politics Through Dialogue

2018 was a uniquely momentous year in Asian-American politics. For the first time in a long time, it felt like Asian-Americans were being elected outside of California. In New Jersey’s third congressional district, for example, Democrat and former Obama staffer Andy Kim won over long-time incumbent Tom MacArthur, who engineered the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and is closely aligned with President Trump. Republican Young Kim was poised to be the first Korean-American women in Congress, although the race was just called on Saturday for Democrat Gil Cisneros. Certainly, neither of these examples speak to a paradigmatic shift in the representation or enthusiasm of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in politics.