Not long ago, our Student Assembly proposed a resolution that would force professors to excuse students who wish not to read, discuss or listen to any course material that offends them, including anything that refers to “sexual assault, domestic violence, self-harm, suicide, child abuse, racial violence, transphobic violence, homophobic harassment, etc.” Conceivably, the resolution would apply to any and all social issues, triggers and distressing themes that a student might prefer not to engage with. The President and Provost annulled the resolution, reasoning that it stands against Cornell’s founding vision of free inquiry. On this matter, I agree with the administration.
But this place isn’t for just staying afloat. It’s for jet-propelled water hoverboards, and then the covert uses of the technology those take. If we’re honest, nearly none of us here came just to get by.We’re in this for worlds more than that
First day of freshman year, I’m a little late to my first Chemistry class. I end up packed into the balcony seats of Baker 200. Our professor is introducing office hours, study resources and the help classes we could enroll in for the semester. He introduces the professor for the supplemental class. The supplement class professor tells us to introduce ourselves to our neighbors, shake hands, get to know them a little bit.
Cornell prides itself in being one of the best research universities in the world. The depth and breadth of research endeavors are true to Ezra Cornell’s founding mission of “any person … any study,” and its faculty are some of the most renowned scholars in their field. Yet, the emphasis placed on scholarly activities often come at the expense of student learning and experience. Around this time every semester, I am shocked at the number of Ivy League professors who put so little effort into their syllabi that they forget to change even the term of the course from Fall 2018 to Spring 2019. It is no secret that the setup of a research university enables faculty members to thrive so long as they are actively involved in their research interests and advisement of graduate students under their direct supervision.
I wish I could say I plunged into my time at Cornell with the same determination as someone sprinting to the first empty table at Libe. With the same sheer intent to get to what you know you deserve, that willpower to beat out everyone else and bask in your triumph. You’ve been standing around for five minutes looking like an idiot, you’ve gotten your coffee, you’re ready to pull your laptop out and get next to nothing done — you deserve that table more than anyone else here, and you will have it. That is how I wish every second of my time at Cornell looked like. Having (successfully?) made the transition to an upperclassman here, I can look back at the last two years and happily admit to myself that my time here so far has been anything but filled with the sheer determination to get what I know I deserve.