Community is a funny thing to search for in an environment like college. We’re old enough to have lost the magical innocence of childhood that can forge life-changing friendships out of seemingly mismatched pairs, but we’re also plagued with the insecurities of youth. No one quite knows what they want, but they go out looking for it, anyway.
However, it’s the times where I’ve allowed myself to actively seek out something small to brighten my day that I cherish the most out of my college experience. Last weekend, I dragged myself up 161 steps to the top of McGraw Tower and felt time stand still as I gaped at the view.
Dominique Clayton is the owner of “In The Kitchen With Dominique, LLC,” a Bay Area catering business serving events both big and small — and most recently, providing meals for those in need in Oakland in partnership with Walnut Creek Kitchen and Eat Learn Play. A chef’s culinary journey is as unique to them as the food they create; every dish is a culmination of an entire lifetime of learning, experimentation and tasting. This weekend, I had the pleasure of interviewing local business owner Dominique Clayton about her own journey and experiences in the field as a Black female chef. Dominique Clayton is the creator of In the Kitchen With Dominique, LLC, a catering company in California’s Bay Area. Though she discovered her calling to enter the professional world of cooking around five years ago, food has always been a deeply personal and influential force in Dominique’s life.
If I’m being completely honest, I hated Cornell when I first started attending. It was nothing personal, it was mainly just a combination of homesickness, intimidation and the infamous adjustment period. Unfortunately, my so-called adjustment period felt more like a chronic state and lasted much, much longer than I anticipated. When I look back at my time here — something that I tend to do a lot these days as it’s my last semester — I realize that the primary reason I got through it, and eventually began to love Cornell, was because of the mentors I’ve had along the way. In my freshman year, against this background of inner turmoil and a sense of not fitting in, I was simultaneously trying to orient myself onto the pre-med track.
Memory isn’t just internal. It’s not individual. It’s all around us, in places and objects and moments. Within our own campus, there are memories buried in classrooms and halls and dorms and libraries. Year to year, even semester to semester, our routines change drastically.
As the months of March and April loom by, the hearts of students in India fill with dread, anxiety and terror. These months mark the peak of final exam season. For high school seniors, this season is the worst, as it not only induces immense stress but also huge bouts of nostalgia for the school years gone by. As a college freshman, it seems almost unbelievable that a year ago, I was in the same shoes as present-day high school seniors. To be quite honest, I feel like an entirely new person.