'It was heartwarming to witness Cornellians emotionally supporting one another'

Prinita Mukherjee

Anthropology
Singapore

Why did you choose Cornell?

I chose to fly across the world and go to Cornell because the departments offer both breadth and depth, providing a unique platform to further explore my interests as a confused freshman who hadn't settled on one passion. I was inspired by the college's embrace of deep interdisciplinary engagement. 

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

girl outside

I learned how to think provocatively about the world around me, challenge narratives I had always been taught and connect with material in a more personal way. I gained the courage to give myself unconditionally to what I learned, going into the field to directly interact with the forces underpinning conditions I studied in the classroom, and seeing more than ever. 

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was Intro to Asian American Studies, taught by Professor Christine Balance, and it inspired me to undertake a minor in the subject. I took it during the Spring 2020 semester when we shifted to online learning, and the climate of anti-Asian hate crimes was growing amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The class provided us with a safe space to navigate these tensions and incorporated elements situated in the real world that could make a difference. We worked on a social media engagement project to raise awareness on Asian American issues to a real audience, read diverse narratives and watched impactful films about the AAPI community's history. It was heartwarming to witness Cornellians emotionally supporting one another as a class. 

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

The memories I treasure the most involve spending special nights in the presence of my closest friends, listening to music, sharing our deepest thoughts, feelings, fears, stories of our pasts and future aspirations, staying together from sunset to sunrise. I also treasure the times I spent outdoors on warm weather days to eat or work, looking up intermittently to appreciate the scenic beauty of our campus and watch the flurry of activity around me. 

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

I am most proud that I went outside my comfort zone and learned how to speak up more and stand my ground as a soft-spoken individual who does not like to draw attention. Academically, I am proud of the honors thesis work I did to investigate the experiences of low-wage migrant workers in Singapore. 

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 2021.

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