When I leave Ithaca for good come May, I want to be able to hang on to more than memories. If you follow me around campus long enough on any given day, you will see me go out of my way multiple times to photograph Cornell’s scenery — both the beautiful and the mundane. A quick glance at my camera roll reveals a sunset photo of a West Campus staircase, a crooked picture of the Arts Quad after the season’s first snowfall, a gloomy shot of my favorite bus stop and a 37-second video of the McGraw Tower chimes performing a spooky rendition of the alma mater on Halloween. And although I might look like a clueless Midwestern dad taking pictures for the family group chat, approaching Cornell like a tourist has led me to better appreciate my college experience, and it can do the same for other Cornellians
During my first three years here, I took my experience too much for granted; until the end of my junior year, graduation seemed to be a century away. I allowed myself to get too caught up in the daily grind — the demands of prelims, the responsibilities of campus involvement, the stress of social life — to fully appreciate living a lifestyle I’ll never experience again on a stunningly picturesque campus in America’s best college town. And I realized that memories of unpleasant or high-pressure experiences have a way of crowding out memories of the fleeting yet meaningful moments of calm, usually outdoors, that bond me to this place and help keep me sane. A tourist mentality creates and elevates positive memories.