'I've met a variety of people with a wide range of interests'

Emily Pecsok

Applied Mathematics & Linguistics
Cornwall, Vt.

Why did you choose Cornell?

I chose Cornell because of its combination of a liberal arts education, large size and diversity of interests. I come from a very small town, and while I wanted that small liberal arts education, I did not want be in a small school for another four years. Cornell was the perfect combination for me, as I've been able to pursue my interests, but also have met a variety of people with a wide range of interests that I would never have met at a smaller school. While I do have friends in the arts college and in my major, I also have friends in ILR, agricultural science, animal science, human development, and more.

person riding a horse

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

I'm on the Cornell Equestrian Team and it has had many major impacts on me in a variety of ways. First, it provided a physical alternative to the academic pressures of Cornell; being on a varsity sports team ensured that I cared for my physical health alongside academics. It was also fulfilling to spend my time at Cornell with the other women on my team. They've taught me so much about leadership and confidence. I met some of my best friends from the team and I would not be the same person without it.

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

Without a doubt, the most valuable skill I gained from my Arts & Sciences education is the ability to ask questions or say "I don't know." That requires a level of vulnerability that I, and I imagine many other high-achieving students, did not have in high school. Whether it be in the classroom or on my team, being upfront about when I don't know something and asking questions has improved not only my relationships, but also my own confidence. I resolve questions and conflicts faster and I've had the opportunity to learn so many new things. I found that as I gained the ability to ask questions, it made people around me also feel more comfortable asking questions or saying they didn't know something. I was able to largely put myself in environments where asking questions was loved and encouraged.       

people sitting around a table with Touchdown the bear

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

I'm most proud of my double major and thesis in linguistics. After my sophomore year, I decided to take a linguistics class because I was interested in it for so long. I'm extremely proud of all that I've accomplished in just two years of taking classes in the subject. The decision to start a new subject so late in my college career and the fact that I came out of it with a major, a thesis and an acceptance to a graduate program is something I'm quite proud of.

Where do you dream to be in 10 years?

I hope in 10 years I will be working as a researcher, most likely in industry, focusing on the meaning of words and how those words change in different contexts.

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 2024.

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Emily Pecsok