For a period of time in my childhood, I thought Cornell was the only college. I didn’t understand the concept of a University, but I had also been conditioned well. I was shaking an upside-down newspaper at a hockey game when I was in elementary school. Most of my role models, family, family friends, and others I met along the way, had gone to Cornell. I had heard fascinating stories, met inspiring alumni, and knew I wanted to be a part of the tradition.
Writing about endings tends towards the cliché. I want to preface this by saying that it’s impossible for me to write about graduation without feeling uncomfortably self-aware of the redundancy of my feelings. Of course I’m sad that a “chapter” of my life is over. Of course I’m “excited” about “what the future holds” for me. But all that has been said before and felt before, by almost 4,000 of my fellow classmates and hundreds of thousands more across the United States and the world over.
When I graduated high school, I wrote a farewell piece in the school paper; it came easy, words were flowing without obstacles, I had a lot to say. Four years later, I still have a lot to say; however, this is one of those very few times when I felt that there might not be enough words, or that they will be too small and timid, too controlled, too human. After reading Virginia Woolf, I found myself validated in my belief that humans are only allotted scattered moments of happiness – happiness which does indeed exist, but which is too big and overwhelming to be taken in over long period of time. We all know those moments in which everything lines up, in which time is right and slow, and everything is in place and shouldn’t be anywhere else – that is happiness, and it is a state of perfection that I always believed too divine to be long-lasting. I wasn’t completely right; the happiness I’ve felt over these four years was definitely human, not continuous but stretched out over weeks, over people, over places.
November has been a brutal month for me. I suffered immense heartbreak the night of the election with millions of people across the world, and then, a few weeks later, unexpectedly lost my 27-year-old cousin, whom I love very much. It’s been a month in which my worldview has been upended. Narratives of right and wrong, of a just world, have all been called into question. But these are larger issues that I will have to work through in due time – with hard work that will require a lot of reflection and introspection.