When I first stepped foot into the A.D. White Reading Room during the second week of my freshman fall semester, I was speechless. I’d heard about this particular room before; it is famously nicknamed “The Harry Potter Room.” That, of course, meant nothing to me as I’ve never seen nor read any Harry Potter-related material, but nonetheless I was curious. This rich red carpeted room has three floors, and the walls are lined with colorful hardcover books. Elegant portraits hang on the main floor, and out of the glass windows on the right, the gorgeous view of West Campus and Cayuga Lake is clearly visible.
As I sat down in a secluded desk on the third level, I stared at the books… there must have been thousands… and thought to myself “This is college.” Ironically, I had said the same thing a week earlier as I entered my first frat party at the beginning Cornell’s famous “O-Week.” And, yes, that was college too. But sitting in this library, this was something different. It wasn’t just college. It was Cornell. Hundreds of people had sat at that very same desk before me, the greatest minds of their generations, studying everything from classic literature to molecular biology. It was an honor to share in that experience, and I think that was the first time I consciously knew how special of a place Cornell is.
Now, as finals week of my sophomore spring semester slowly comes to an end, I have found myself back where I began my academic Cornell experience. I swore off Uris Library, which houses the A.D. White Reading Room, for quite some time once I discovered Mann Library (much more social), Catherwood Library (soooooooo nice), and good old Olin Library (am I the only one obsessed with Libe Café?). But today, I was looking for a change of scenery, which led me here. And while I probably should be studying for my Hospitality Marketing exam, blogging is so much more fun.
In the past two years, Cornell has become my home. I’ve joined the Information Specialist (Tour Guide) team, where I’ve met some of the most brilliant and friendly people and have been able to share my love for this university with visitors and prospective future Cornellians. I’ve embraced my privilege of studying fashion at such a unique university by taking a trip to India to experience apparel production firsthand, connecting with inspiring alumni, and learning the ins and outs of fabrics and fibers in hands-on lab courses. I’ve continued to pursue my love for performing and singing by joining the a cappella community, which led me to some of my closest friends, and also to meeting the Obamas. I have made lifelong friends from near and far, and I’ve been astonished by the way my peers pursue their academic passions. Each of these experiences has been distinctly Cornell.
I am thankful to have called this place home for the past two years. Being on an isolated campus with about 14,000 of the most driven students in the world is an unbelievable privilege, and one that I do not take for granted. I can’t help but get sentimental about my love for Cornell, and as much as I am relieved that summer break is right around the corner, I’m already looking forward to coming back next fall!
I think the end of the academic year is a great time for reflection. It’s bittersweet to watch my senior friends prepare for their graduation, and while I know they’ll all go on to achieve amazing things, I will miss them dearly next year! It’s also strange to think that my college experience is half over. So much of this campus still feels new to me, and I plan to make the most of my time left here. As every adult ever has said, “College is the best four years of your life.” Thank you, Cornell, for truly being the best.