DERY | One Last Lick

The other day, I spoke with a friend who asked about how I liked my time at Cornell. To that I said, “I got lucky.” I got lucky starting a fantasy football league with two podmates on the fourth floor of Kay Hall. I got lucky randomly sitting next to a student at Appel, who later that night introduced me to a fellow physics major. They are all now my closest friends. I got lucky that home was a two hour bus ride away, and I could go see family and reset whenever I needed. I got lucky that I had a support system around me that talked me out of stupid decisions like pulling unnecessary all-nighters, and talked me into stupider ones like bat hunting in McGraw Hall. 

GUEST ROOM | Three Things I Wish My Counselor Had Told Me

“The Uniform Code of Military Justice specifies court martial for any officer who sends a soldier into battle without a weapon. There ought to be a similar protection for students, because students shouldn’t go into life without information about the real world.”

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that this is a paraphrased quote from the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Patrick Winston, who is clearly better at coming up with introductions than I am.

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.