Why did you choose Cornell?
I decided to study Asia after hearing about my mother’s upbringing there and taking a particularly illuminating high school history class. A world-class Asian Studies program was key in my college search, and on every count, Cornell has delivered. From four dedicated China specialists in the government department to the depth and breadth of knowledge in the Asian studies department, I found professors passionate about the study of Asia, and being part of a niche, specialized academic community on campus has been immensely impactful on my growth toward one day becoming an Asia scholar myself.
Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?
I have learned an incredible amount from my peers here and my friends have greatly influenced my education. I have always been able to find someone willing to discuss practically anything with me, in classes, clubs and just in passing. My friends have introduced me to courses that I would have never thought to take, like an anthropology class on chimpanzees that I absolutely adored and learned so much from. Cornell students, especially Arts & Sciences students, have all sorts of quirky, unique passions, and it is so easy to find people who are experts in niche fields you’ve never heard of. My friends have helped me see even my own interests in a new light with their insights from their disciplines. They are budding historians, doctors, politicians, scientists, poets and executives, and I am always in awe of the talent, intellect, and curiosity of my fellow Arts students.
If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?
Take an active role in your own education. It seems so simple and trite, but I think it is the best way to maximize the value of studying at Cornell. In the business of campus life, especially when Cornell students are so engaged in demanding extra-curricular pursuits, it is easy to let academics take the back burner. It is also easy to feel like the least experienced student in the room, and like you have nothing to offer to the discussion. This lesson came to me slowly, and it took me time to learn to prioritize my time and build the confidence to speak up. I learned to come to class prepared, sit in the front and raise my hand. It is often hard to contend with the loudest voices in the room, and it certainly helps to be older, but the classes in which I was an active participant — both speaker and listener — are the classes that I remember most and that leave me feeling like I made the most out of my Cornell education.