“We are a strong community and one in which we support each other.” This was the phrase that most caught my eye in the email sent on March 10 to the Cornell community regarding the disappointing changes coming about as a result of coronavirus. These changes are devastating to many of us, especially seniors. It struck me as tonally discordant for that phrase to slip out of an email that otherwise insensitively detailed the steps Cornell will be taking to wash its hands of any future outbreak without explaining much in terms of rationale. While I’m sure there is a rationale, I want to take a moment to highlight the confusions we have as a student body, the intense disappointment we had in learning this news and how important it is to consider, very carefully, what exactly future versions of these decisions will mean for us, especially seniors graduating in May. We have many questions, mostly concerning the thought process behind the decision.
I decided to give myself a break over the weekend to relax and rejuvenate. I tend to do things in chunks such that I spend either a full day studying or a full day unwinding all at once. I realized, however, that I now have less than two weeks until graduation, and that I can’t leave spending time with and appreciating my friends here for later. So, with final papers and exams in the back of my mind, I went to watch Frozen II at Regal Ithaca Mall. The scene where Elsa begins singing “Into the Unknown” particularly caught my attention.
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.
After two years, two months and three days (but who’s counting), my time as the Student-Elected Trustee has begun to come to a close. Serving as the Student-Elected Trustee has been one of the greatest honors in my lifetime. In an act of nostalgia and personal curiosity, I spent this past week looking through my past viewpoints and notes to pull out my most memorable lessons from the Hill and the Board of Trustees. While I still am unable to describe industrial and labor relations to my grandma in Chinese, I’m happy to report that my time at Cornell has been filled with learning moments that I hope others reading this can carry forward. I learned that organizational traditions are not all pure.
Well, we made it. We have at long last reached the end of the road. It was a tough journey, certainly not one for the faint of heart, but despite all the pain, I believe it was worth it. This right here is my last column. As I sit write, I have to admit I’m glad I decided to go to Olin to do this because I can already feel the emotions that would no doubt have poured out in the form of tears if I wasn’t in a public place.
As a senior soon to graduate, I have been reflecting on how much I have grown since matriculating at Cornell. I believe my undergraduate experience can be best summarized with the quotation, “I don’t know if it was heaven or hell, but whatever it was, it was wonderful.” I, like many students, have excelled and failed, found love and lost it, matured, evolved my cognitive processes, better understood myself, and have grown even more handsome (not like many students). Positivity does not sell, though – just look at Ithaca’s own Positive News — it’s free and no one reads it. For that reason, my editor encouraged me to reflect on some of the past four years’ hell.