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College of Arts and Sciences

Jesus Perez: 'My family's sacrifices motivated every one of my academic and personal accomplishments'

May 8, 2020

Jesus Perez
Economics & History
Nacogdoches, TX

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

Time management and self-evaluation. Being an A&S student makes it easy to be very busy all of the time. Whether it's because of extracurriculars or because there are so many different interesting classes to take, if you don't manage your time wisely you can become overwhelmed by your own curiosity. In order to do well you must be able to prioritize tasks and develop a schedule. Self-evaluation is also another important skill that I gained over the past several years. Because of the rigor of the College, it's important to be able to honestly evaluate yourself in order to improve. If you're not able to self-evaluate, you run the risk of becoming complacent and not performing as well as you could be.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was ECON 3770: Inequality in U.S. Higher Education. It combined an interesting topic with economics and is taught by a great professor. The course material is very relevant to the lives of students, touching on topics like social mobility, affirmative action, graduation outcomes, etc. Professor Riehl's lecture format is also great, as the class was actively engaged through questions. 

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

My main extracurricular activity has been my involvement with the Cornell Farmworker Program. As a student not originally from New York, I wanted to interact with people outside of just New York City and Ithaca. The CFP has allowed me to get to know other areas of upstate New York while also doing impactful work, like providing people with legal resources or ESL lessons. I've gotten to meet lots of great people and it's helped me to have an impact on the community outside of just Cornell's campus. 

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

I would say the Cornell memory that I treasure the most was the summer that I spent in Ithaca as a rising junior. My internship work during the summer was a lot of fun, and the people that I met were also great. Getting to see Ithaca and the wider region during the summertime was truly the highlight of my experience. As a student, during regular semesters it is so often cold and snowy that the beauty of summer is never imaginable. Spending a summer in Ithaca is something that every student should do at least once.

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

As a first-generation student my proudest accomplishment is having the ability to call myself a Cornell alum. My parents and those around me worked very hard so that I could one day attend college. Their sacrifices motivated every one of my academic and personal accomplishments. Because of that my degree represents a culmination of not just my efforts but theirs as well.