All of my years at Cornell have led up to this moment: I am officially a Cornell alumnus! Now that I’m past graduation weekend, I cannot really accurately describe the feeling — sort of a mixture of pride, anticipation, sadness, and excitement rolled up into one frazzled little ball of emotion. Coming out of senior week and graduation, I can honestly say that the end of this semester was one of the craziest yet — and for good reason.
As many of you know, graduation was this past Sunday — May 29th — and we started off on the Arts Quad, gathered by schools, to march as one big moving Class of 2011 mosh pit to Schoellkopf Stadium to start at 11am. Aside from just killing time with Hotelies (which you can see in pictures below), the heat was unrelenting. It had to have been around 90 degrees for the majority of the day, and with that black graduation robe and fancy dress-up clothes under it, I was sweating like I was a literally being cooked alive. Yay Ithaca (again!)!
Heading over to the stadium — in our graduation attire, marching as almost-alums — was a surreal experience unlike any other, which I honestly wasn’t expecting. Along the entire way, there were professors, staff, students, families, etc., all clapping for us, and that was the first time I think it really sunk in — like, “wow, I’m really ending this thing soon, aren’t I?” And just realizing all of the people I’d met over the years — the hundreds of close friends, familiar faces, and relived experiences, all passing by in a matter of minutes on that simple stroll to Schoellkopf. Amazing.
After Skorton gave us the nice “go-ahead” for our diplomas — which, by the way, the Hotelies were by far the loudest at, of course — we headed straight over to Barton for the Hotelie-only ceremony where we walked to get our diplomas. This was probably my favorite part of the day because let’s face it: I spent the entirety of my four years here with Hotelies, and I thought it was very fitting to go out that way as well. Meeting my family after hearing Dean Carvell say “Evan Carr, with distinction!” as I walked across to shake Dean Johnson’s hand was a fulfilling, yet oddly sinking few seconds; you realize that you have finally defeated Cornell, but when you walk past that last handshake, you’re into “adulthood” (whatever that means), and you’re losing that warm-and-fuzzy Big Red security blanket.
So that’s the bulk of it — after that, my brother, mother, and father joined me for an afternoon graduation reception at Llenroc for the seniors, which was a great way to unwind before dinner at Rulloff’s. And that’s that. That’s that.
You know, the aura around Cornell is something that is truly unique and unbelievable. After graduating high school, I never thought that I would meet such a fascinating compilation of individuals, an incessantly brilliant faculty (across many different schools, not just the Hotel School), and a culture that mixes fun and eccentric better than any other college campus in America. With life on the hill, you can always write about what’s happening — but you will never encapsulate the full experience unless you are here. Connections — with the people, with the campus, and with the history — are what make Cornell so tremendously rewarding and satisfying.
With this being my final post, I feel it is necessary and appropriate to thank those people that made my Cornell experience one that is so difficult for me to walk away from. First and foremost, my family: My brother, Ryan, for adding levity to any situation and being the seed of competition and support that pushed me far past any boundary that I thought contained me. My mother, JoAnna, for being the unrelenting optimist that saw the positive in anything. And my father, Jeffery, for giving me stability and practical advice whenever I sought it. Also, I have to thank all of my brothers in the Delta Phi (Llenroc) fraternity for an incredible past few years: The Llenroc experiences that I will remember — far past my graduation on Sunday — are some of the fondest that I’m sure I will ever have. You are all great friends and great people, and I’m already looking forward to returning to the house to have a casual conversation and a cold beer with all of you on the roof of Llenroc.
Moreover, how can I forget Hotelies! Now that I’m pursuing an Experimental Psych PhD at UC San Diego, I often get questions like, “why were you a Hotelie?” and “didn’t you wish you switched?” I’d be lying if I said that I was certain that I was in the right place throughout my whole time here. In fact, at certain points, I was one signature away from leaving my Hotelie status for something else. But looking back on it, the Hotel School is what exposed me to psychology through business, what motivated me to pursue how my business interests related to other fields, and what allowed me access to so many great friends and faculty. So in short, I couldn’t be happier with how things worked out, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Just goes to show that the Cornell doors really can fly open anywhere — you just have to be the one to turn the knob.
And last but certainly not least, thank you to Lisa for letting me have this blog for my years here at Cornell. Having a voice on campus has been incredibly valuable for me, and I’m so happy that I have a chronicle that I can look back on now that I’m leaving — the ups and the downs. You were an amazing mentor and an overall fun person to be around. Please keep in touch.
With that, I leave you with one final piece of advice: Cherish the friends and the social experiences that you will have at Cornell. The academic pedigree of Cornell is what you come for at the start, but I guarantee that you will leave here with much more than a diploma. You will have friends that make you laugh, pictures that make you cry, and thoughts that fill your heart with joy. So if you’re depressed about all of the studying or get a bad grade on a prelim, realize it’s not a big deal in the overall picture of your college experience. Realize, instead, that even though your time on the hill may be limited, the positive memories that you will build and carry with you can (and should) be timeless.
Goodbye and good luck, Cornell. I loved every second of it.