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College of Arts and Sciences

James ‘Slater’ Goodman: ‘Say ‘yes’ to opportunities as they come your way and you will find happiness and success here’

May 10, 2019

James 'Slater' Goodman

College Scholar

San Juan Capistrano, CA

Why did you choose Cornell?

I chose Cornell because it is the most academically diverse school in the world. At no other university could I live with, dine with, train and compete with, and learn with people whose personal, academic, and professional interests are so different from mine.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was actually my First Year Writing Seminar, WRIT 1420: Opening Up New Worlds Through Research & Rhetoric. Darlene Evans is a fantastic lecturer and incredibly thought provoking. Her course instilled in me a profound love for library research. I’ve used the writing and rhetorical skills that I developed in the course throughout my Cornell journey. I don’t think that I would have been so interested in the College Scholar Program and undertaking an Honors Thesis without the confidence that this course gave me.

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

My main extracurricular activity is the Men’s Varsity Swim Team. The team has given me so much. Even as a walk-on to the team, from the moment I stepped on campus I had a support group of 35 friends to help get me through all the highs and lows of Cornell. Beyond giving me an incredible group of friends and extensive alumni network, the team has also helped me succeed academically. The work ethic and time management skills we have to develop are invaluable. The team is also where I developed my love for photography and videography, which in turn has dictated my professional career path. It has been an incredible honor to represent Cornell to the rest of the country.

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

To an incoming first year student I would say try to keep everything in perspective. There is no more exciting time in your life than when you are embarking on a new journey and that’s what your time at Cornell is, a journey. My journey to Cornell and through Cornell has been anything but ordinary. My senior year of high school I honestly never thought that I would be where I am today, having had the experiences I have had. Say ‘yes’ to opportunities as they come your way and you will find happiness and success here.