'I've never been more clear on my professional goals and aspirations'

Jocelyn Tripoli

Asian Studies
Perkasie, Pa.

What was your favorite class and why?  

person in front of building with lots of flags

As a humanities major, I have come to appreciate a great lecturer or class that stimulates deep discussion or thought. Some courses I would like to highlight include Genocide Today with Professor Magnus Fiskesjö, The World of Modern Japan with Professor Kristin Roebuck, Classical Chinese with Professor Robin McNeal, Game Studies with Professor Andrew Campana and Introduction to Korea with Professor Soyi Kim. Additionally, the language instruction at Cornell is likely among the best in the nation and I have taken either Japanese or Mandarin every semester since I entered. I highly recommend taking up a language not only because of the quality education and esteemed instructors, but I have also found that in language classes, students tend to develop great camaraderie with each other because language classes are inherently highly collaborative and interactive. I would like to sincerely thank the Japanese language department for providing such an excellent program.

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

I started Cornell in 2019 prior to the pandemic and am graduating in 2024 because I took two semesters off: one to work full-time at a Covid lab and one last semester to do an internship in D.C. Prior to Covid, I was in a project team and various clubs, but since Covid, my primary activity throughout has been consistently working a variety of jobs. For me, jobs have of course provided me a means of defraying my tuition, but building an additional four-year employment history has granted me enrichment and direct experience in the fields I would like to pursue. I have been an English teacher, a Japanese tutor, a waiter (shoutout Taverna Banfi), a Covid lab technician, the director of logistics at an educational company in Japan, and a foreign policy intern in D.C. Additionally, my education here at Cornell, especially through language studies, have expanded my realm of possibilities and have led to my first internship abroad and other opportunities that would not have been possible if I was not at Cornell or accumulating a varied work history. Furthermore, I have loved my coworkers, firmly enjoy working in teams, and love meeting new people in and out of Cornell as well.

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

person in Japan

I am most proud of discerning and identifying what it is that I would like to pursue as a career and the steps to get there with great conviction. I have never been more clear on my professional goals and aspirations, however that has not necessarily always been the case. I entered as an engineer, then joined the College of Arts & Sciences and had a brief period of contemplating majoring in computer science or being pre-med. Furthermore, spirits were low during Covid. However, I realized that my lifelong interest has been in history, international relations and foreign policy, and there are considerable jobs available. I also gained some sector-related experience through internships, developed connections and have been able to take courses that directly accentuate the knowledge I will need on the job.

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

It is perfectly fine and expected to not have things entirely set in stone as a 17- or 18-year-old and you should explore different majors and embrace varied academic interests. It is also absolutely common to generally have an upwards trajectory over the years in terms of happiness or satisfaction with your college experience as well.

What are your plans for next year? 

Immediately post-grad, I will be back in Japan as director of operations of an educational company for the summer. Following that, I will remain in Yokohama, Japan and attend Stanford’s Inter-University-Center for Japanese Language Studies to become professionally competent in the language for work or academic research. From there, I will apply to graduate school or work for several years in Japan, but I would ultimately like to work in the field of international relations and foreign policy analysis.

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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Jocelyn Tripoli