Sunday, July 15, 2012

Reflections on the Final Day at Cornell

I woke up to the sound of music playing out of the iHome alarm at the Statler Hotel.  I already knew today would be a hard day, leaving the campus that we have called home for the past three weeks.  I took a shower and packed the remainder of my luggage. To be honest I was a little sluggish this morning as we had a late night at the Statler to cherish the remaining hours at Cornell.  I headed downstairs to meet the group for breakfast, which would be at the locally well-known Collegetown Bagels.  The bagels lived up to their reputation as we enjoyed a breakfast away from the Robert Purcell Community Center.

The Hotelies had to leave soon after breakfast to attend their graduation at 10 o’clock.  They had already checked in their luggage at the Ithaca Airport earlier in the morning; the rest of us headed toward the airport after breakfast to check in luggage.  I saw Jonathan, who was in my discussion group, the first of the many people I would have to say goodbye to today.  From the airport we headed to Kennedy Hall for graduation. 

Seeing our friends at graduation was the saddest part of the day.  We already had our goodbyes with friends who had early morning flights, and seeing the rest of them go was hard.  We lined up alphabetically with our fellow Freedom and Justice classmates, but soon visited with Matt in VetMed and Ganeev in Body, Mind, & Health along with many others.  Everyone gathered into the hall to begin the ceremony.

Ms. Eller, the Summer College Administrator, opened the program with concluding statements about the program: what we have learned, how we have changed, and so on. Afterward, each class’s teacher gave a speech and called the students up individually to receive their certificate. Freedom and Justice went second after Design, and was followed by Body, Mind, & Health and then VetMed.  After the ceremony we met with classmates, friends, and Professor Kramnick for pictures before we had to leave to catch our flight to Philadelphia. 

Everything was different after leaving Ithaca, practically leaving our home. The flights home seemed longer; the atmosphere was completely different.  On the bright side, I ended up being 4 for 4 in getting the aisle seat on the flights, and the journey home provided one last bonding event for our group.

I am so grateful for having this experience. The things that I have learned have been invaluable and the people I have met here have been amazing. I want to thank the Ivy League Connection staff, administrators, and sponsors for making this trip possible, as well as Mr. Chan-Law for making this journey with us.  He has been such a wonderful, responsible chaperone who we all have really gotten to know over the month; I couldn’t think how a high school teacher would volunteer to spend their summers with even more kids, but I’m sure there are other privileges involved in participating in this program.  I also want to thank Professor Kramnick and Ulas for being such masterful educators. They have really changed my perspective not only on governmental philosophy, but also on matters of thinking in general and analyzing philosophy. Also Asher and Riley, our R.A.s, who have really made me feel welcome at Cornell since the beginning of my stay. Finally, I am so grateful to be able to share this experience with my fellow cohort: Calvin, Eric Wilson, Eric Wang, Frank, and Rachael.  We have developed a special bond that I know is going to last beyond this program and I am truly grateful for that.  

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