VALDETARO | Calling Home

I fumble with my keys and phone as I bundle through my building’s never-quite-closed front door to begin my daily trudge up what my roommate spitefully calls “the Himalayas.” Unsure if I’ve already missed my Mom’s drive to work — or if she’s running a little late like I am — I tap through my phone and hit her name. Cutting across an intersection with no cars yet still full of potholes, I hear the dial tone cut out and a familiar voice greets me with a stressed, but warm, “Good morning.”

I didn’t use to call my Mom while heading to class in the morning. It took me until a couple of weeks ago to realize that my daily climb this semester coincided with her daily commute.  Unfortunately, it took me much longer than a couple of weeks in college to want to call home at all. For a long time at the start of freshman year, my family and family friends played a one-sided game of phone tag with me, with them always trying to get me on the phone while I avoided their calls like a distant deadline. In the past year or so, though, I’ve not only started to make those calls myself instead of avoiding them, but I’ve realized that they’re a harbinger of my overall relationship with Cornell.

DERY | Take Your Headphones Off

A man seated at a nearby table during a Monday night chess tournament in my hometown spots my Big Red t-shirt and approaches me. With a finger aimed at my chest, he tells me through a crooked grin that he’s a Cornell alumnus. I tell him I’m thinking about a physics major, which is received by what appears to be a nod of approval as he quickly chimes that he was an engineer here. He proceeds to angle his shoulders parallel to mine, slip his phone out of his pocket, and swipes through his decades-old pictures as a Cornell student. I had barely told him my name, yet we were already peering into what appeared to be some of the best days of his life: him between two others holding drinks.