These may be uncertain times, but we are also hopeful for the fall and thrilled to welcome the Class of 2024. Our A&S student ambassadors, like all of our students, are learning remotely for the rest of this semester, but we asked some of them to share their thoughts about their Cornell journey so far, as well as offer words of wisdom for new students.
Our ambassadors are dedicated, talented and inspirational students who are selected through a competitive process to represent the college at various outreach events and support new students in a variety of ways. If you’ll be a new student this fall, you’ll be matched with one of our ambassadors as your peer advisor and they’ll be able to answer any questions you might have about what it’s like to be a Cornell student.
For more insight into student life at Cornell, visit the student ambassador webpage and read some of their stories on the right hand side.
Our students offering wisdom here include Austin Rae Haycox ’20, Nick Smith '20, Karen Jiang ’21, Medina Keita ’20, Ross Moseley ’21 and Michelle Abramowitz ‘21.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to new students?
Medina: Put yourself out there and try something new. Explore as many of the opportunities Cornell has to offer as soon as you can so that you can discover what you like.
Karen: Never be afraid to ask for help. Everyone at school, the professors, upperclassmen, and even your peers just want to see you succeed, academically, professionally and personally. Don’t be afraid to go to office hours or ask for tutoring.
Michelle: Remember that professors are really accessible and want to meet with you. I’ve had great experiences going to my professors’ office hours — not only are they always happy to meet with me to discuss assignments and coursework, but they genuinely love getting to know students and building relationships with them.
How did you decide to come to Cornell, and to the College of Arts & Sciences?
Austin: It was the only university in the entire country that offered the exact program that I was looking for, the China and Asia-Pacific Studies program, which offers an unparalleled opportunity to master Chinese and study Sino-US relations. I also wanted to ensure that I would be able to dive into a diverse and comprehensive field of study.
Medina: What drew me to Cornell A&S was the opportunity to explore a range of different interests. With the largest number of majors and minors offered at Cornell, I knew A&S was the perfect place for me to cultivate my curiosity.
Ross: Cornell was much larger than the other schools I was looking at. But the College of A&S acts as a smaller sub-community within the larger Cornell. While walking around the Arts Quad, I feel like a member of a small liberal arts college, but if I ever want, all I have to do is wander across the street and I can get the larger school environment.
What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned about Cornell that you didn’t know until you became a student here?
Austin: Before coming to Cornell, I never expected to fall in love with Ithaca like I did. Ithaca is the most magical place with the best farmer's market in the nation (in my unbiased opinion!) and the most beautiful campus.
Medina: I didn't know that Cornell was the first Ivy League University to admit a female student, Emma Sheffield Eastman, in 1871.
Michelle: I didn’t realize how truly easy it would be to explore academically. My advisors encouraged me to explore many different fields without worrying about choosing a major right away. Doing so allowed me to discover my major, American Studies, and enabled me to take classes in so many departments.
Nick: To this day, I am still blown away by the beauty of Cornell's campus. I've been involved with the Running Club throughout my time here and am always finding new breathtaking spots on runs to come back to later. Even during the winters, walking to class never gets old.
What have been some of your favorite experiences so far?
Ross: As everyone knows, Cornell had to make the hard decision to cancel in-person classes for the remainder of the semester. A group of my friends decided to celebrate our last night together, and spent it doing all the things we had done over our years here. It ended sitting on the bleachers of Schoellkoph Field (the football stadium) watching the sunrise. We reflected on all of the amazing experiences, and relived some of the best memories. In that moment, as the sun rose over the Cornell seal, I have never been happier to have experienced this place.
Austin: I co-founded the Tsinghua-Cornell Women's Leadership Association to provide MBA women in both China and America with the tools to combat professional biases in the workplace. It was amazing to bring together such a diverse group of women in business to evolve female empowerment in the workplace globally.
Karen: My favorite experience has been spending a summer at Ithaca, the best season to be in upstate New York. Not only was the weather awesome but I also got the amazing opportunity to explore so many new buildings.
Nick: I went to the movies with my mom a lot as a kid and so was excited when I learned Cornell has its own theater on campus. I've seen quite a few movies at Cornell Cinema since and can't help but recommend it to anyone that's new to campus. The staff are so passionate about the films they show and I always find myself making a new friend in the theater.