'I learned to open my work up to public criticism'

Catalina Peñéñory

Classics and Italian
Jakarta, Indonesia

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

In the Creative Writing Program, I learned to open my work up to public criticism or other processes which I think pushed me to be confident or accept the very human tendency to err.

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

In the past, my main extracurricular activity had been being an editor for the Cornell Daily Sun. I think this was an extremely unique experience in which a group of university kids were  able to run a serious, genuine institution almost entirely on their own. It not only pushed me in an academic sense but it also gave me, again, one of the first chances I'd ever had to work really hard at something that actually mattered to me. It was a huge responsibility but one that I never had any problem doing, even when it required staying up until 5 a.m. several nights a week.

two people in winter clothing

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of?

I think I'm most proud of my work with one of the clinics at Cornell Law School, because of the reason that, again, it gave me an opportunity to do something more real and tangible than ever before. Other than that, it would probably be the Corson-Browning Award I was given for a creative writing piece.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

I would say do what you like and worry about the rest later. Everything is figure-out-able. And, because I think that Cornell can be as challenging emotionally as it can academically, behave in a way that makes you proud at the end of the day, and a way where if nothing else, you focus on loving other people and life.


Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2022.

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