My Not-So-Final Word

For a few reasons, I’d been putting off my farewell entry as long as possible. I had a nutty-but-amazing senior week, the seven days between finals and graduation when Cornell sponsors all sorts of local fun: wine tours, river rafting, paintball, et cetera. It was exactly what my friends and I needed to mentally prepare to leave Cornell: I know I would have been a wreck if I finished my ethics exam on Friday and graduated the next day. Graduation was a lovely weekend but a tiring one, my (maybe) last act of volunteering for everything — I say “maybe” because I signed up for the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (CAAAN), for whom I hope to begin conducting informational interviews with DC-area prospective Cornellians really soon! Check out all the videos and photos here — I lucked into prime placement for being photographed by carrying the ILR School’s banner, an honor that meant so much to me. Since I’ve been home, I’ve done the usual readjustment to Maryland life (sleeping in, TV-on-DVD, hanging out with my retired father), with some job search mixed in.

But the frame store called this morning to say my diploma was ready, and now it’s sitting on my bed waiting to be hung up. As my friends said many times during the graduation ceremonies, “this is happening.”

As noted in a recent entry, I’m still not too emotional about graduation, and I really haven’t taken a lot of time to reflect. One of my friends suspects that it’s not really going to hit him until it’s August and he’s not packing up to come back to Cornell. I think the same thing will happen to me, so the waterworks are going to come after my official blogging duties have ended. But hopefully I’ll look back to this entry to stop crying: perhaps I am okay because I know that graduation is in no way the end of my Cornell life, even if I won’t be back in Ithaca for a bit. (See that? Plans to return are already in the works.) I’m glad to have a solid network of Cornell friends in DC with me, I can’t wait to start meeting prospectives through CAAAN, and I’m totally crashing all future Cornell Alumni Leadership Conventions. Academically, I’ll stay in touch with my thesis advisor and second reader as I adapt my thesis for publication in journals; I have similar plans for a bunch of other papers I wrote this semester. And I have a feeling that, if I’m lucky, my career plans will bring me back to Cornell. I’ll miss the undergraduate lifestyle, but knowing that Cornell will always be a part of me makes the transition a lot less heartbreaking.

Accordingly, there will be no weepy reflections on my four years at Cornell until I’m at a reunion and it is encouraged, instead, a confident summary of changes. I’ve grown into a person I’m truly happy with and made some amazing friends along the way. I don’t think this growth and these experiences would have been possible anywhere else; Cornell is such a unique place and was really a perfect one for my seventeen-year-old self, with interests all over history and the social sciences, ready to leave Montgomery County (again, for a bit), and eager to build a life in college. I’m thrilled that everyone who helped me find my way at Cornell will still be a part of my life as long as I have a NetID and excuses to visit. And I fully intend for that to be a long, long time.

A final shout out to one of those people who helped me along the way: Lisa Cameron-Norfleet, who coordinates our blogging program. This blog gave me a forum for leading a thoughtful and self-reflexive (to borrow a term from our friends in the Anthro department) life at Cornell, which helped me get so much more out of my undergraduate years.  For the prospective students out there, the group I most wished to address, I hope this blog been educational and a helpful look into the ILR School. If my blog has taught you anything, the answer to your next question should be clear: yes, you should apply!

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