ST. HILAIRE | Good Things Come to Those Who Wait, Trust Me, I’d Know

I don’t recognize myself right now. 

Not in a bad way, it’s just that this person who greets me at the mirror each morning is miles ahead of where I expected her to be, or should I say, where I expected myself to be. 

Every semester, I’ve made a habit of checking in with myself with a single question: “Would your freshman year self recognize you?” I don’t know where the question stems from. I don’t know why I continue to ask it semester after semester. Yet, every semester I do, and I can say with certainty that the answer is a strong and resounding “no,” and I’m proud of that. 

For reference, freshman year Catherine was someone to know, and some of you did. She was 17, younger than her peers and hyper-aware of it. She was scared of being away from home and alone for the first time in her life.

VALDETARO | Cornell Was My Public Living Room

 A few Saturdays ago, I was walking home after a long day on central campus. My only company all day had been the dataset in front of me, the software packages I was using to analyze it and the T.V. show I had playing on my phone to stave away the isolation-induced craziness imposed by the third-floor computer lab in Sibley Hall. In short, I was desperate for some interaction, any interaction, to give me a chance to speak, a chance to laugh, a chance to be more than a data analyst methodically manipulating shapefiles in GIS. Thankfully, I found that on my walk home. In the short strip of sidewalk outside of Collegetown Bagels, my 10-minute walk turned into at least 20 as I talked with no fewer than five people about assignment progress, hilarious costume parties attended with alumni friends living in New York and plans for the evening.

OLGUÍN | The Places We’re In, The Places We Go

I’ve recently started to dislike the spaces I have loved in the past. The spaces that were my home during the early mornings of trying to catch up on work and the long nights of racing against a deadline. Now, simply walking into the areas I once loved gives me a feeling of such palpable out-of-placeness. These spaces feel novel to me now. I remember the amount of lively people that occupied a bustling Klarman on a busy weekday, and while that’s returned in our in-person year, I now feel like I don’t know the space anymore. 

It’s filled with the unfamiliar faces of two years of undergraduate students I never had the privilege or chance to meet in passing or an in-person class.

ONONYE | I Don’t Know What I’m Doing After I Graduate, Please Stop Asking Me

Last week, I visited my best friend who just began her new young-adult-post-Cornell life. We’ve been friends for almost four years, and I’ve never seen her as happy as she was last weekend. She and the other friends I had spent months stressed out about their post-Cornell careers, and they are all really settling into their new lives. I remember just a few months ago when they too were scrambling to find jobs, get fellowships and apply to graduate schools.

WILK | Faking it Until You Don’t Want to Make it Anymore

I was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society in seventh grade. Our mentors were eighth-graders seasoned by nothing more than hours of community service that most either forged or substituted for familial favors. Following their footsteps, we were to stand in the middle school gymnasium and be introduced to the families of spectators in the bleachers, ending with our career aspirations. I was freshly thirteen and my future plans were far from concrete.

FOX | We Got Lucky

I met my Freshman year roommate on Facebook. He seemed nice enough and worried about the possibility of roommate disaster. I was happy to commit to 9 months in the same shoe box with him. The night before move-in day, my family drove up to Ithaca and we spent the night in a small hotel about 10 minutes outside of the city. I walked into the lobby, bubbling with excitement, nervous for my first day of school. My new roommate, off the plane from Taiwan, was the first face I saw.

PERATI | My Cornell Experiment

After one of the most important people in my life was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer during my senior year of high school, I experienced a period of early maturity in which I became intimately aware of how important time is. I was no longer able to relate to the friends I surrounded myself with since childhood and I no longer recognized myself.