What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?
I am most proud of a couple of things: my work as an outdoor educator and my senior piano recital. My senior piano recital was the product of an intense few weeks of rehearsal and represented my work done as a field recordist and pianist. Having strangers who attended the concert approach me in the hall and tell me it was a moving experience for them fills me with a sense of purpose. There's a similar feeling of achievement when an outdoor education student recognizes the positive impact I've had on their lives (as an outdoor education leader). We're here for such a short time, and to be able to make a real positive change in the community feels good. It's what I'm supposed to do.
Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?
My piano teacher has been not only a source of musical inspiration, but a life mentor. The music grad students have also proven super supportive along the whole journey. Friends--couldn't do it without them. It's about community. It's about building relationships with badass people you love, cherish, and respect, and learning from them.
If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?
Many things. In short:
1. It's really no big deal. You're gonna be a lot happier if you don't finish that assignment and get an hour more sleep. You're gonna need all the sleep you can get. In the wise words of my friend: "Sometimes with homework, you just gotta know when to let it go."
2. Make friends and hang out with them. Four years flew by too quickly, and I'm fortunate to have made such amazing friends. Laugh with them.
3. Work hard, but don't make yourself sick over it. Nothing is worth losing mental or physical health over. You are the priority. It won't help anybody if you get sick because you're overworking yourself.
4. Love yourself--take time to recharge when you need it.
5. Soak up the sun on any and all of the sunny days. Sunny days in Ithaca are few and far between. You'll need the sunshine to last you through the long and gray winter.
6. Smile and laugh as often as possible.
7. Don't take things too seriously. Like I said in number 1: it's really nbd.
8. Find your voice, trust your gut, and stick to what you know about yourself. Be passionate about what you do, and love what you do.
9. Get stoked about what your colleagues are passionate about. There's much to glean from an invigorating conversation over a cup of coffee, or whatever suits you. And seize the moment. Don't wait for opportunities to present themselves. They won't. You gotta be proactive and make the magic happen.
10. Be the best listener you can be. At the end of the day, this boils down to respect. I've found that the better I listen to people, the more they respect me, and the more I respect them.