GUEST ROOM | To Cornell: Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

Three weeks ago, I finally returned home to my family in Maryland after living in Ithaca for four long months. I had been in Ithaca since early August, the beginning of residential staff training, and with no fall break in sight, those four months had dragged on until I was sick to death of Cornell. 

However, over the course of these same past three weeks I have been home, the conversations surrounding disarmament on the Student Assembly floor escalated to a peak after a semester-long debate. And now — trying to chair these meetings with over 200 attendees on Zoom with my parents walking by bemusedly — I’ve found that I can’t talk to my family, or anyone really, about the S.A.

After speaking on the phone to a reporter from The Sun recently in an effort to convey my side of the S.A. story, I sat alone in my darkened room and listened to the muted sounds of my parents preparing dinner downstairs beyond my closed door. 

I felt, all of a sudden, very alone. 

I had always heard from other women at Cornell, my friends and mentors, that leadership is lonely. I have been talked about, reported on and had my private emails and texts shared without my consent for the entire Cornell community to read. I have been equally criticized and applauded for decisions made not solely by myself, but with the students I lead and represent.