The Long Road to Ithaca

Due to layout changes, I have had to remove my “Choosing Cornell” story from About Me. In honor of the brand new Cornellians who learned of their acceptance earlier this week, I will post my story here.

Shortly before the beginning of my senior year of high school, after I had carefully chosen a reasonable set of six schools to which I would apply, a brochure from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations landed in my mailbox and changed everything. I poured over its glossy pages and accompanying letter that asked, “Are you a problem solver? The person your classmates come to whenever there is a mix-up, impasse, or disaster?” It described one school that covered essentially everything I wanted to study. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to apply to a seventh school, and vowed to visit Cornell on the off chance I was accepted.

Cornell, unlike the other schools I had selected, was rural and isolated. I recall wondering where Ithaca was and why it was “gorges.” A six-hour drive north, Cornell was the farthest away from my parents and Maryland home. We are quite a close-knit family (Hispanic, only child, only girl, you get the picture.) I had my doubts about the distance, but temporarily tabled them while I kept busy with senior year and all of those applications.

Completely unaware that ILR released decisions on a rolling basis, I was a little bit shocked when I stumbled upon Cornell’s website in the middle of February and found I had been accepted. After verifying that it wasn’t some hilarious joke, my mom and I drove up to Ithaca during my spring break in early April. It was snowing, of course, but the peaceful beauty of the surroundings and freshness of the mountain air were stunning, especially for an asthmatic girl from an overcrowded suburb.

If any of my experiences during Cornell Days cemented my decision, it was definitely my interactions with current students, who were all bright, articulate, and engaged. They were confident, but never arrogant. They took their work seriously, but not themselves, and maintained a healthy sense of humor about the rigors of Cornell, their overachievement, and the Ithaca weather. The list of reasons why Cornell was an ideal choice steadily grew: ILR had an unbeatably small, close-knit community with the resources of a large resource university; the institutional loyalty the students felt for their school was palpable; I looked great in red.

Though hopelessly in love with Cornell, I had tough financial choices to weigh, and I wondered if my parents and I would be able to handle the separation. After doing my research and making my T-charts, I knew I belonged at Cornell. After the deliberations and monetary considerations, I was finally able to make it here. I sent in the deposit, learned the alma mater, and never looked back. For a choice made based on a brochure and a convincing handful of tourguides, it turned out to be quite a good one!

One thought on “The Long Road to Ithaca”

  1. i can relate so much to this post that pamphlet still sits on my dresser reminding me everyday how excited i am to be an ILRie!!

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