ROSENBAND | Public Shaming: Mourning Cornell in Real Time

I’m a junior now, but the room key to my Collegetown apartment still hangs from the distinguishable lanyard I received when I moved into Dickson Hall as a freshman. If you were smart, you probably discarded it right when you got it, trusting that your amateur status went in the bin with it. Maybe it has stayed with me more as a matter of convenience, but I continue to cling on to that bright-red rope that pulls me right back into the heart of freshman year as a souvenir from a past life — a time when I felt as if I existed in the cross-section between 22 Jump Street and Pitch Perfect. I expected Cornell to change me in a humongous, colossal, monumental, *insert superlative* way, and although it probably has, this mid-pandemic existence forces me to not only mourn the life I lived, but mourn the place I hold dearest even as I’m walking its campus. Even if you’re technically a senior, this year we all start over as freshmen: Overwhelmed, paying too much attention to the little details, fearful of not meeting new people and just generally confused at how this is all going to work.