This month, Ambassadors will be reflecting on how Cornell has changed them compared to the first day they arrived on campus, or even to just a couple months ago. In the first post of November, senior Carlee talks about how the classes, professors, and friends she encountered over the four years have taught her to welcome challenges and to think critically.
By Carlee Moses ’18, History and Government double major
How has Cornell changed me? That is a big question. As I begin to approach my graduation date, and reflect on my four years here at Cornell, I confidently believe that Cornell has made me a better version of the person I was four years ago. In some ways, I feel that the person who is sitting here writing this blog is exactly the same as the person who arrived in Ithaca in August of 2014. I am still a complete history nerd, I still spend the majority of my free time hanging around with friends and family, and I still get down to the same eclectic mix of pop hits, country music, and Holiday songs that I did during my senior year of high school. In other ways, however, I could not be more different. I have spent the past four years on a campus that I believe is defined by the diversity and intensity of its students’ passions, I have surrounded myself with an incredible group of friends who encourage me to be unapologetically myself and inspire me on a daily basis, and I have done things that I did not know I was capable of four years ago. Through Cornell, I have sharpened and deepened my passions, and learned to seek out and embrace challenges that present themselves to me.
Me and my freshman year roommates on the first year Move-in Day.
When I applied to Cornell, I applied to the College of Arts and Sciences as an anticipated history major. History was the class in high school that I enjoyed the most, and it didn’t hurt that the subject typically came pretty easily to me. The study of history at Cornell, however, was unlike anything I had experienced before. At Cornell, history was challenging. My classes dive much deeper into historical events and figures, and instead of letting us to blindly accept the claims made by historians and textbooks, my professors encourage me to question everything and to form my own conclusions. I have only become more interested in history through my time at Cornell. Cornell has helped me turn my fascination with the people who have influenced and whose decisions have impacted the major events of history, into my passion.
Me and a few Cornell friends pose in front of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain during our study abroad.
A few months ago, I attended a panel of several young Teach for America alumni. One of the alums shared a piece of wisdom that was imparted on him during the trying times of his first year of teaching: “If you aren’t being challenged, you aren’t growing.” After hearing this, I realized that the statement describes my time at Cornell. Cornell has been filled with challenges. Whether it was fighting through Professor Fontaine’s Intermediate Latin Class, struggling to attain an internship that aligned closely with my passions, or deciding to leave the campus that had become comfortable to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark for a semester, Cornell has been a challenging place. However, it is through these challenges – and through overcoming them – that I have become the person who I am today. I realized after hearing this token of wisdom that embracing the challenges that have been thrown my way during my time at Cornell, although difficult, was what allowed me to grow. Cornell has taught me not only to embrace challenges in life, but also to actively seek them out.
Me and my best friends standing in front of our eighteen person (!) home on our final Homecoming as undergraduates at Cornell.
Cornell has played a very large role in the formation of my current self. While so many things about me resemble the person I was four years ago, Cornell has bettered everything that makes me ‘me.’ Cornell has made me smarter, more passionate, and more driven. Cornell has helped me realize, and have confidence in the fact, that I have a voice, and that it is important to speak up and use this voice when I witness injustice in this world. I hope that I continue to be hungry for challenges, and to seek out challenges as I depart the campus this May. I know that I must do this in order to keep growing. In coming years, I hope that I seek out challenges that result in impacting our world in a way that leaves it a better place than how I found it. Cornell has given me the foundation and the skills – and most importantly, the greatest support system of friends – to do this.