"Cornell is a big place with a lot going on, but it is important to take a step back and enjoy what it has to offer."

Ian Sigalow '16

Ian Sigalow '16 is an ILR student minoring in the A&S Jewish Studies Program

How did you decide to minor in Jewish Studies? How did you get introduced to the program?
Freshman year, I took Introduction to Judaism with Professor Lauren Monroe. She was incredibly engaging and the subject matter was presented in a way that really piqued my interest. Upon learning that she was teaching another class the following semester, Introduction to Hebrew Bible, I knew I wanted to sign up. At that point, I was half way toward the minor, and I have been taking classes ever since. Professor Ross Brann has been a spectacular individual to learn from as well. I have taken Jews and the Classical Age of Islam, Israeli Palestinian Conflict, and am currently enrolled in a seminar on Moses Maimonides. Being able to take engaging classes taught by instructors who care about their students and show a real connection to the subject matter has been one of my best experiences at Cornell. 

How did you decide on your major? Have your plans changed since you started Cornell?
I am in ILR and stumbled across the Jewish Studies department just by looking for classes my freshmen year. My ability to take courses within ILR in addition to receiving minors from Arts and Dyson really enabled me to study whatever interested me at Cornell.

Can you tell us a little about your career plans or goals?
Next year I will be working as a financial analyst for American Express. I still have aspirations to attend law school, but after having a great intern experience there this past summer, I decided it would be a great opportunity to enter the world of work.  If I could choose one job in the world, I would love to be the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association. Being able to blend my love of basketball, business education and the labor relations aspect of my education seems like the perfect fit.

What do you like to do in your free time? What activities/organizations are you involved in on campus?
I am a member of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and served on their executive board last year. I am also a dining writing for the Cornell Daily Sun, which is an awesome opportunity to sample local restaurants and events to give reviews to the Cornell Community. I also am a DJ for Cornellradio.com and host my own show called "Gettin' Siggy Wit It" where I discuss pop-culture, sports and play whatever musical genre is on my mind for that day (usually Jam Bands or some rap).

What has been the most life-changing lesson or experience you've had at Cornell so far?
The most life-changing lesson/experience I have had at Cornell is to not sweat the small stuff. Cornell is a big place with a lot going on, but it is important to take a step back and enjoy what it has to offer. A few friends and I have always joked that you should "Just say yes" to whatever life has thrown at you, but we've altered the expression to "Selectively say yes." When my friends and I decided to take a trip to Quinnipiac to see Cornell's last hockey game of the season, we knew it meant we would have some extra work the following day, but we thought  just do it! You are not going to look back on Cornell saying "Man, I wish I had an extra hour of sleep during my sophomore year," but instead are going to be thinking about that concert you missed or the guest speaker you were never able to enjoy. Being surrounded by friends and always having people to play basketball, go to the movies or grab dinner with is such a great thing that does not quite exist (to this extent anyway) once you enter the working world.

What would you say is your favorite Cornell memory?
My favorite Cornell memory (or the one that's just coming to mind now) would be my first time doing the telephone chants with my friend Daniel Borko. Being the recognizable individuals at the Cornell hockey games in charge of chants was an awesome experience and was something that I had always wanted to do since freshman year. Going to games at Lynah almost every weekend and sitting on the glass always filled me with such Cornell pride.

What is the last book you read?
So, I feel obligated to give two answers. The most recent book, which I really enjoyed, was "Don't Put Me In, Coach: My Incredible NCAA Journey from the End of the Bench to the End of the Bench" by Mark Titus. I also recently reread  “The Catcher in the Rye” because who doesn't want to hear about Holden's exploits.

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