Being New on The Hill

It has been ten days since I arrived at Cornell. It has been ten days of ‘life on the hill’. While I would love to claim that I have settled into college life, I have not. Being in a new place with few familiar faces around is a challenge for me. Given the size of Cornell’s campus and student body, it is easy to feel lost in the beginning. The elaborate maps, bus system and friendly people help when I’m physically lost. But not much helps when I feel socially or emotionally lost.

One night, I left my room to fill my water bottle with warm water from the bathroom sink. I was told that it is safe to directly consume tap water in the United States, unlike in India. I met a middle aged woman in the bathroom. All it took was a ‘hello’ from my side. She was the mother of a sophomore student in my residence hall. When she heard that I wanted warm water, she offered to boil water for me in her daughter’s kettle. She did that and even poured it into my bottle for me. She talked to me about my home and family. She empathized with my mother, “how hard it is to send a daughter so far away for college!” Then she recommended that I buy a similar kettle because it will be convenient and safer.

Although our interaction was brief, I was touched by it. It was the first time I felt cared for by another person on campus. It gives me hope that eventually, I am going to find a family of friends and mentors at Cornell. Eventually, I will feel at home here.

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