LEEDS | Memories Made Over Meals

Over the past four years I’ve come to learn that food is personal. One person’s “yuck” is another person’s “yum.” One may love veggies while another may despise them. One may not understand how someone could live without meat while another can’t imagine consuming an animal product. One may love the food of their culture, while others might be reminded of a culture they’re trying to distance themselves from. Everyone has their story, but most of it has to do with food.

LEE | It’s Okay to Be Disliked

Moving from country to country while growing up, I learned to quickly adapt to new environments. I grasped how to approach people from different cultures and backgrounds and especially how to find common ground. Along the way, I strived to make myself polite and agreeable so that I would be able to fit in. Yet, this need to adjust and conform compromised my sense of self. I was molding who I was to correspond with others’ expectations of who I am meant to be rather than letting myself just be me.

LEUNG | Letting Go of ‘I’

I felt like a cliché. The college grad who faces a crisis over her own personal fulfillment, so she wants to leave the country and start a life abroad — but is too scared of societal pressures and whatever conditioned ideas of success she has, so she stays. I’ve thought of these recurring thoughts and the idea that people don’t understand me, or no one knows how I feel. But the feelings of misunderstanding, isolation, longing and restlessness — they’re not new. People have felt these emotions over and over, by those who have lived hundreds of years before and those who will come after.

AHMAD | To All the Mentors I’ve Had Before

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.

LIEBERMAN | Get Dumped: Become a Better Person

The Cornell academic calendar, with its first day of classes (and therefore, my first scheduled column) desperately far from the start of the New Year, tested my ability to write about New Year’s resolutions. I’m doing it anyway because I love fresh starts. In 2018, I resolved to Not Get Broken Up With, Not Even Once. I got dumped, on January 21st, by a boy who taught me how to roll cigarettes that I, less officially, have resolved to never smoke. So, the gig was up, and the resolution was broken, but I was surprisingly okay with it.

LEUNG | The Finale, for Now

We had four hours on the road before we had to officially call ourselves final semester seniors. The road was a safe haven — if you didn’t look at the hills of snow everywhere, spindly trees and the depressingly gray sky. Still, we were safe. “Would your freshman year self have thought you would be where you are now?”

I let that question linger in the car for a while my friend and I both thought about it. I could feel that we were both rewinding ourselves back to the first day we stepped into our respective dorms. Me, sweaty and wearing my sister’s striped T-shirt.

STUDY BREAK | The Big Picture

I’m all about appreciating the small things in life. The conversations. The mental pictures. The seemingly insignificant experiences that we’ll remember forever (Can you tell I’m sentimental?). But there are other “small” things in life that I must admit get more attention than they probably should.