Countless times throughout my undergraduate career as a psychology major, I’ve been forced to memorize lists of psychologists’ names and their corresponding theories. These theories are sometimes fascinating and other times mortifying (yes, I’m looking at you, Freud), but they are almost never memorable. Sure, I can generally tell you what Kohlberg’s theory of morality is, or half-heartedly explain what Piaget’s deal was. I’ve never fully understood what was up with Freud, but I could still monotonously recite his psychosexual stages if you really wanted me to. My point is, none of the details of these psychological theories ever stood out to me.
But college is such a confined place where so much happens every day, whether that’s because of the proximity of so many students or the exposure to so many new things at once. Our self-growth is sped up in this four-year experience; it can be difficult, but it’s something I’m already grateful for.
This is my last column for The Cornell Daily Sun and at first I wasn’t too sure what to write. As a graduating senior, I could do something really sappy and look back at my favorite Cornell memories. I could list out my biggest regrets about my four years here. I could also just treat this like any other column. Ultimately, I decided to do a bit of each of the three. Here’s some advice to the Cornell class of 2021.
“It is likely to increase each year,” he said. “That is the norm that we are expecting unless we scale back on our ambitions, which I don’t have any interest in doing and I don’t think Cornellians have any interest in doing.”
I feel as though I am losing the core of my identity in one fell swoop, on the morning of Dec. 17, in Bartels Hall, in a ceremony rife with pomp, circumstance and vaguely unflattering gowns. I chose to graduate early for several reasons, none of them quite good enough to dissipate the pangs of doubt and nostalgia I’ve been feeling for this place in the recent weeks. Ithaca has been my home for much longer than four years (I’m what you might call “fairly local”) and Cornell has been a goal of mine since I was old enough to spell “Big Red.” Granted, I’ve lost a fair amount of faith in this school in the past year watching election tension divide people and feeling the pressure to join what I fondly refer to as the corporate career conveyor belt. But graduation goggles are setting in, and I am sad to see my days as a student here end. Leaving something certainly forces you to remember it.
A palpable — though often unspoken — tension between the humanities and STEM festers on this campus. The humanities’ utility has consistently been questioned — and perhaps with good reason. Why would one ever need to relay the myth of Prometheus or know that Edgar Degas was a French Impressionist painter unless one was competing on Jeopardy! and had the potential to win hundreds of dollars? It is especially difficult to justify the relevancy of the humanities curriculum in times of economic upheaval.
There’s a quip that goes, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” It took me a while to sort through the implications of that statement when I first heard it. “Why would I ask someone that already has too much on their plate to get something done for me,” I scoffed. And then I got to college. My freshman year I struck up conversation with some kid in some introductory 500 person class Cornell conveniently forgets to mention they have in their pre-frosh handbooks. He was a sophomore chemical engineering major taking 23 credits and not regretting every decision he’s ever made.
Do you know how difficult it is to be a sexually active virgin on this campus? Paradoxical, I know. But it’s true. I’m a girl who loves sexual acts, loves everything about sex, but simply refuses to have it. It was engineered into my brain that sex is reserved for your husband, and after years of religion thrusting itself into my head (pun intended), it’s become difficult to reverse the effects of this forceful belief, even if my own mind has changed.
Responsibility is scary. People don’t like being reminded that they are responsible for everything they do, and that these actions have consequences. While some things are obviously out of our control, the world is the way it is because of the things people do. To someone like me, who can barely find her toothbrush in the morning, this seems an alarming level of responsibility. However, it’s not at all uncommon to hear about the World-Changing-Impact one single person can have.