I entered Cornell knowing I loved the social sciences and wanted to work in public service, and that’s still true, but I’ve focused my interests considerably since then. ILR gave me a great framework for tackling social issues from many different disciplines. With some luck, I’ll be heading to Washington after graduation and working on health care policy, and then following a few years of work experience with a JD/PhD. The classes I’ve taken (see below!) have been a great mix of subjects and approaches.

ILR’s requirements are pretty strict within the first two years, with many core and distribution classes to take; several are intro (100-level) classes. I’ve still had room for nifty electives and a lot of choice within the distribution requirements, so I have yet to feel “locked in” to anything. Junior and senior years grant a lot more freedom to ILRies to take Advanced ILR Electives in our favorite fields.

Freshman Fall

Highlights: I was randomly sorted into a thirty-seven-year-Cornell-veteran professor’s FWS, who completely changed my perspective on American universities and taught me how to write conclusions. CB 100 completely opened my eyes to the fascinating field of social history; I plan to max out on courses from its department. Colloquium is a one-credit class that meets for the first few weeks of school; an ILR professor leads discussions for a small group of incoming ILRies to introduce us to the topics we will study in ILR. It usually ends with going out for ice cream on the department’s budget. Funny story, I dropped Calc II, which is not an ILR requirement or really useful for my career plans, after straight-up failing the first prelim in late September. In Self-Defense, I learned to break boards with my fist.

Freshman Spring

Highlights: The only bad part of my Spring ’08 was my GPA, which beats a boring semester and a 4.0, so I have no regrets. This particular mix of classes, though awesome, was extremely test-heavy, and I am much more of a “paper person;” I look forward to picking up the pieces of my GPA during sophomore year. Government allayed all of my fears about being too much of a concrete thinker to handle philosophy, and convinced me that every semester should have at least one professor who has been at Cornell for 30+ years. My two Anthro classes continued to blow my mind.

Sophomore Fall

Highlights: Fall ’08 was the best combination of challenge and reward I’ve had thus far, though it did mean many late nights and a lot of independent work. I wrote some papers that I am very proud of and spent a whole lot of time hardly working, as they say, with the classiest Labor Law and Labor Econ study groups ever. I officially love small classes.

Sophomore Spring

Highlights: I still can’t believe I pulled this off.

Junior Fall

Highlights: I took it easy with credits during this semester to concentrate on my Cornell Tradition responsibilities and application for a Truman Scholarship. Finally taking a class with my advisor (Econ of the University) and learning why college costs so much was great fun, if a little depressing.

Junior Spring

Highlights: Great semester! The classes were just as diverse and fascinating as the titles suggest. I had never tried more than twenty credits in one semester, and somehow this ridiculous idea ended in the best GPA I’ve earned at Cornell. I chalk this up to the good influence of my super-student roommates. I’m really happy I had the courage (lunacy?) to stay in all twenty credits as the drop date passed. The ┬ánice boost to my cumulative GPA put me in the running for graduating with honors (= writing a thesis.)

Senior (gasp) Fall

Highlights: Stay tuned!

2 Comments Add your own

  •    Wade  |  December 14th, 2009 at 11:59 pm     

    omg Patricia! How in the world have you been handling all those classes, especially as a Freshman?

    Have you decided what you’re going to do with your Degree after graduation?

    What are your options?

    Stay positive and best of luck!

    Expect success,


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