One is the lonliest number…

I am dangerously close to graduating. When I started this year, I was short a swim test (check), a PE (next weekend, check), a labor history class (Radicals, Reformers, and Reactionaries with the wonderful Prof. Berger. check), and a “Cultural Perspectives” class, mandated by ILR. (huh??)

Because I am considering a December graduation (someone hire me, please!) I had to knock all of these requirements off so that the option of graduation was available. I asked the few fellow ILR-ies that I know to receive the following advice: “Whatever you do, don’t take Anthro/Intro to Japan/Archeology/etc”. Thus I ended up in Architecture 3402, The Architecture of Cultural Systems.

The class is interesting enough, easy, engaging, and so on, the one flaw being that it is almost entirely architecture students. I am the outcast of the class, and this becomes apparent when the teacher asks us to draw a representation of space, based on an article we just read. I gave my best effort, but someone asked me why I was drawing a duck on fire…

I hold my own pretty decently and contribute pretty well to discussion, even if some people roll their eyes when I refer to buildings as the most obvious form of architecture. To me, this class had sounded like a discussion based class (which it is) for kids who liked buildings but didn’t know enough about architecture (which it isn’t). The TA looks at me today and goes “Why the hell are you in this class?”

My favorite thing about the class though isn’t the material, nor the cute girl I get to sit next to sometimes, nor my fraternity brother who has bailed me out on more than one occasion, but that I can take the class and get credit for it. ILR is, I feel, singularly unique in that not only do they encourage us to take classes outside of the school, it is practically demanded of us. Ezra Cornell founded this University as a place “where any student could find instruction in any study”, and ILR lives up to that completely.

After the TA asked why I was in this class, the oddball amongst a sea of third-year architects, I replied candidly and told him that it fulfilled a requirement. I realized almost instantly that there is so much more to it than that. I am in this class because it is cool, because I truly love to learn, and because I am a Cornellian. My brother is looking at colleges right now, with a focus on very technical and engineering based schools. My advice to him the whole time has been to look at broader universities that allow for diversity in learning. I’ve taken Beekeeping, Oral Communication, Labor History, multiple Psych classes, and so on. I have been in classes I have had no business being in, and classes that served little purpose other than to boost my abysmal GPA.

This well-rounded education means I have pushed myself, and it has been reflected numerically out of 4.0. But I am not sure I would have done it that much differently.