Well, the day finally came. After 4 years and 8 semesters enrolled as a student at Cornell, and after this weekend’s events, I am officially a Cornell alum!! This whole “Cornell graduate” thing is feeling pretty darn surreal, so let me try to break down the events of the weekend.
My parents, sister, and grandma made the 5 hour trek to Ithaca on Friday night. After a great dinner at The Heights–which began at 9:30pm, because every restaurant in Tompkins County is swamped with reservations this weekend–we called it a night, and went separate ways to get ready for Saturday’s activities.
Saturday started off with convocation, where a guest speaker imparts wisdom on the class of 2014. This year, actor Ed Helms spoke; from all the people I’ve spoken to, I’d say the general sentiment was that it was a fantastic speech. I’d agree. He was funny, but also provided some wisdom about “being a fool,” and related experiences from his own life to prove his point.
Saturday afternoon was very relaxed. My family and I all proceeded to do Cornell-y things–take in the view from the top of the Johnson Museum, go to the Cornell Store, and attend an ice cream event under a tent where we got a picture with President Skorton and his wife. That night, we had a great meal at Taughannock Farms Inn, then celebrated a bit with champagne at my apartment. I realized then that graduation is kind of odd in a way; as much everyone loves (and appreciates!) having their families and loved ones present, the nature of commencement weekend makes it somewhat difficult to get in final farewells to many classmates.
Sunday was the big day!! Commencement had all grads up early, as we had to be on the Arts Quad in regalia at 9:15, ready to walk to Schoellkopf. This is where the picture taking/mingling began. Once we all filed into the stadium, the elaborate ceremony took place–and of relevance to me, Dean Boor of CALS recommended to President Skorton that all the CALS bachelor of science candidates receive their degree. Luckily, he took her advice (phew) and bestowed it on us.
After the University-wide ceremony, there were numerous department ceremonies. My major, AEM, had something on the Ag Quad–a more relaxed event where I was presented with a certificate. It was great speaking with many professors that I’ve had from over the years then–and was a nice conclusion to my college experience.
Cornell, in general, does a ridiculously good job of shuffling crowds around–with extensive signage, transportation, food options, etc. (think Disney World levels of crowd control). I guess after doing these ceremonies 145 times they have it all down pat.
I can’t begin to put into words how weird it was saying bye to people, not knowing when/if I’ll see them again. Sure, a good chunk of my major will be in NYC…but what about the many people I’ve met over the years from places like California? Driving out of Ithaca for the last time was a ridiculously bizarre experience as well.
Overall, it was a very positive experience–and definitely bittersweet. Walking into Schoellkopf with the stadium filled, there were definitely feelings of energy, excitement, and nervousness. Everyone I spoke to would probably share those sentiments. Now that I’m officially an alum, I’m in a state of temporary disbelief…and now that I’m back in Connecticut, I’m craving Collegetown Bagels more than ever before.
Stay tuned for a few more wrap-up posts!