Category Archives: Over winter break

Run the Race as if to Finish

There are persons who shape their lives by the fear of death, and persons who shape their lives by the joy and satisfaction of life. The former live dying; the latter die living. I know that fate may stop me tomorrow, but death is an irrelevant contingency. Whenever it comes, I intend to die living.

— Horace Kallen

This is the end. How great a ride, an experience it was. Four years in Ithaca felt like one, and if it were any different feeling I wouldn’t have been as happy. As my friend who graduated last year pointed out, it’s a good feeling to not want to leave because the opposite, wanting to get out of Cornell as soon as possible, would mean that you made the wrong decision in coming here.

The diploma I just packed with extra care (as my mom says it’s worth $100,000), the tassel I lost then found twice today, the honor cords from CIVR, they all tell me it is time to go even if I want to stay. I will be on my way out tomorrow. It will be hard to leave. I depart, however, with the next three years of my life laid out for me (Teach for America then Master Public Administration at the Maxwell School at Syracuse U.) and hundreds of doors of opportunity open to me during a time in this world when certainty and security is a luxury. For that I can only be thankful.

As seems to always be the case, I tend to come away with different points, but never the main concept, from commencement speeches given to me. From high school it is the quote at the beginning of this blog, from David Plouffe: success means hard work, long hours, and dedication. But it is ok to turn away from work to pay attention to your family even though your family are the ones who will still be there when you forget about them, from David Skorton, Cornell President: though many people dismiss liberal arts because of its limited utilitarian value, the liberal arts are precisely what gives us the foundation to understand the world. Ethics as a basis for education is too often overlooked, and what one reads says volumes about who one really is. Want to know a person, ask them what they’re reading.

Thank you to my family, friends, faculty and staff at Cornell, Delbarton, and Far Hills who educated me, and those for whom I worked at the handful of internships I held.

Thank you Lisa for giving me the opportunity to write this blog. Thank you to those who read it once or a handful of times. Thank you to those who have consistently read each entry. Congratulations to the Class of 2013.

I guess this is it. If this entry were Dean Mathios’ address to the students of the College of Human Ecology, I would say I have just completed chapter 22 of the Book of Life. May the next scores of chapters be just as enriching, entertaining, educational, and edifying as the first 22 (may the use of my alliteration continue to impress me as well). And may I finish them with as much excitement, nostalgia, and reluctance as I have finished these chapters today.

I will miss these “good ole days on the hill.” To my Alma Mater: farewell.

Support a Cornellian

I was sitting in the Ivy Room eating my second slice of pizza after having a hamburger. I had the Daily Sun on the table and was reading it. I came across an editorial in the paper about what happens after graduating from Cornell and how it feels (which honestly I have worried about since I was accepted to Cornell in December during my senior year of high school). The article was great, one of the best this year. It gave me a mixture of emotions…bittersweet sums it up. Little did I know, until I was contacted by the author, Julia Levy, that it was nominated by US News and World Report as one of the best college columnists. There are 8 finalists on the website (link is below) most of which have a link to their article on the US News website except for the 2 Harvard nominees, hmmm Harvard they’re good enough to pull a Leonardo DiCaprio by being nominated twice but aren’t good enough to have a link to their articles. What can I say they’re Harvard. Anyway, please go to the website and read the articles, then vote for Julia’s. I’m not just saying this because she went to Cornell, her article is extremely well composed and very personable. Currently she’s in second place behind the guy from USC and honestly, USC just won the Rose Bowl, they don’t need to win anything else.

Here’s the link:

The New Year

I returned from a two day, one night skiing trip to Killington, Vermont with two friends from my high school yesterday. While most of the snow was man made, it was still enjoyable and not that icy.

The completion of today, January 5th, will mark the second day of Democratic control in the House and Senate. Already, they have passed an ethics reform bill and written a formal letter to the President urging him not to commit more troops to Iraq since that goes against most of his military advisors’ recommendations. This prompted Bush to meet with two moderate senators, one Republican, one Democrat (Barack Obama). John McCain is officially a flip-flop, no longer a moderate maverick, picking to move to the far right in hopes of presidential aspirations forgetting about what made him popular among both parties. He is no different than President Bush, George, Allen, Sam Brownback, etc.

There is also still a Republican President. The last day of Republican majority in the House and Senate saw the passage of a bill that would give the President the ability to open any mail sent through the United States Postal Service at his discretion. After the new year the President of course promptly signed the bill in the name of protection against terrorists. Another of our freedoms gone…better watch what you mail.

Lastly, the Giants play Sunday. I have never felt less confident in a Giants team than how I feel about this one. If they win, it will be a miracle and Eagles fans should walk in subordination and humiliation forever. If they lose, well that’s expected.

Let’s see how 2007 plays out.

What to See

I work at my local movie theater and referee basketball games during winter break. As a result, I get to see free movies and I use that privilege often. My recommendation for this week: The Good Shepherd – is there any other movie that could remind you of The Godfather. The cinematography and screenwriting, not to mention the directing, are beautiful. On top of that, Francis Ford Coppola is an executive producer. Bring your thinking cap though there are tons of side stories and connections and actors that look similar.

Winter Break

Winter break lasts five weeks so it’s a long one. The reason why they make it so long is to let students escape the worst part of Ithaca winters by having them come back during the last week of January. It also gives you plenty of time to recuperate from the fall semester. For all of the freshmen it’s an adjustment period when you have to get used to living at home again. After freshman year, however, the transition becomes part of the routine. Congratulations to those of you who were accepted early to Cornell. You can join the ED club that I am a part of. To those of you who were deferred or are applying regular decision, good luck! The college process is almost done. If any of you have questions about all the stuff they send to you after you’ve been accepted early just ask me. I’ve been there and done that.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa…I would’ve mentioned Ramadan but that already past, just wanted to point out that I didn’t forget about it.

Korea Represented

It’s not often Koreans, or Asians for that matter, get a lot of the spotlight in America or in world affairs. For instance, did you know Tiger Woods is more Asian than he is black? Or that I’m half Korean because you certainly can’t tell (not being sarcastic at all). Or that Michelle Wie is Korean. Or that the two characters on the TV show Heroes are Japanese (not Chinese). Or that Jin and his wife on the TV show Lost are Korean (not Chinese). These are all pop culture examples, but in politics it’s the same. How often do you see an Asian or Asian-American in top positions that carry influence? Not much. Therefore, yesterday, it was a nice feeling to read in the USA Today that the next UN Secretary General (Kofi Annan’s spot) will be a Korean. That’s right a Korean. Ban Ki Moon to be specific. And to impress your non Korean and Korean friends, when you say his name the K in Ki sounds like a short g and the i is pronounced like a long e.