oh no she didn’t

the hotelie life

The Series Finale.


I’ve been avoiding making the final updates to my blog because, well, every time I sat down to write, I was reminded of a fact I wasn’t quite ready to face: I GRADUATED.

No, I KNOW, right? I am a Cornell graduate. That’s me in that photo on the right. At graduation. I have a diploma, which I made my parents take away so that I would neither destroy the most expensive piece of paper I will ever lay my grubby fingers on nor be forced to look at the tangible evidence that the best years of my life thus far have come to an end.

I will say this: I made it out of the Hotel School with not one single credit to spare. Ha! But I passed finance (with a D, but that is neither here nor there) and knowing I worked my ass off this semester really made the Commencement festivities all the more satisfying.

Now, Senior Week was a sloppy mess. I literally could not have spared a single moment to sit down and reflect on anything, and I think that’s the reason why there’s a big space between the last day of finals and Commencement weekend — the idea, I suppose, is to let all the seniors drinkgraduateregalia.jpg and party so they don’t have any time to realize that in a matter of days they will be thrust into the vast, mythical nebulous nothingness that is the Real World. Or maybe that’s actually the reason we were drinking all week. Meh, who knows. Point here: it was GREAT.

Then came Commencement weekend. Maya Angelou, in all her crazy awesomeness, was a fantastic speaker on Saturday during Convocation, but nothing she could have said and nothing I could have ever imagined could have prepared me for the experience of Sunday’s Commencement ceremony.

Words could never do justice to the things we all felt during Commencement. We all cried more than once that day, and nobody was able to articulate what they were feeling or whether the tears were happy tears or sad tears. We had this unfamiliar knot in our stomachs; a bittersweet potent cocktail of enormous pride, overwhelming happiness and debilitating terror.
That morning, in all our funny graduation regalia, three of my best friends and I walked toward Schoellkopf stadium from the Arts Quad with the rest of the Hotel School. Along the way, we passed the Board of Trustees and President Skorton, cheering and smiling, and almost all the Cornell Faculty members who had these huge proud-parent type grins on their faces, calling out to congratulate each one of us as we walked by. As we got closer to the stadium, the entire Statler Hotel staff was there to cheer us on. I can say, without much doubt, that the Procession is something I will remember forever and one of the best moments of my life.

And then we walked into the stadium and saw the crowd and it was all suddenly so real.

The following days were the toughest. Between hoeing out my apartment, shipping all my crap, and saying goodbye to the people who had, more or less, become my second family over the last four years, I was left bewildered and shellshocked by the end of the whole thing. And all I could think was holy crap: I am a Cornell graduate.

One Comment to

“The Series Finale.”

  1. June 22nd, 2008 at 4:15 pm       Nu geld lenen Says:

    Congratulations to you Jenna! Your blog is always fun to read, good luck with all of your plans in the future.

More than you ever needed to know.

My name is Jenna and I’m a senior Hotel Administration major (you know you’re jealous). I came here from Plano, TX, a huge suburb of Dallas where the high school football teams and the retail shopping experiences are top-notch. I graduated in 2004 from Plano West Senior High, a two-year public high school with around 1800 students. I’m now in Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration where the entire school is smaller than my graduating senior class, but I like it that way. Although we’re allowed to concentrate in specific areas within the Hotel Administration major– Finance or Food and Beverage, for example– I  sort of spent the last 3 years dabbling in everything from culinary arts to hotel design to information systems. I’m thinking that I’d like to go into some sort of industry-related writing; maybe, like, travel magazine writing?

I’m just getting started on my senior year and could not be happier (or busier, really). I work as a Cornell tour guide, answering the phone for 254-INFO, working in the traffic/visitor information booths around campus, and writing back to those emails you send to info@cornell.edu. True to my Southern roots, I’m a member of a sorority, Kappa Delta, and lived in the house with 35 of my sisters sophomore year. I’m involved in various hotelie clubs and worked as a function manager for Hotel Ezra Cornell, a weekend-long event where hotelies take over the Statler Hotel and showcase their talents to hundreds of guests who just happen to be the most influential leaders in the global hospitality industry. In 2007-2008, I take over as the executive director of the Vagina Monologues as part of the nationwide V-Day movement to stop violence against women. Freshman year, I played clarinet in the Cornell Wind Ensemble, bass clarinet in the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, and a little bit of both in the Cornell Chamber Orchestra. I served as Director of Tours for the Hotel School and am now the president of the Hotel School Ambassadors, the group of fabulous hotelies that give tours to prospective students and act as mentors to newly admitted freshmen. Also, I am one of the founding members of the Hotel School Student Advisory Board, a group of SHA students who meet with academic deans to discuss curriculum and other things that will help continuously improve our fabulous school. On top of all that, I had a column in the Cornell Daily Sun junior year (called “Fast Times at Statler High”) and remain on the Sun Op-Ed Board my senior year. I am also an editor of a news blog run by an outside firm, as well as a writer at Hotelchatter.com. Plus, I go out on the weekends… really, I do have a life. Kind of.

This year’s mission: find a job or get into grad school. And, um, graduate.

      Other questions? Leave them in the comments section on any of my entries!