Monday, May 19, 2014

I C.U.~Updates and News~

Back from the dead, with news to share.

So for the past academic year, I've been a student at Cornell University. (I.E., the only Ivy that was coed upon founding. Fun Facts.) This past year has been amazing, and I'm truly grateful I got the chance to change schools, and that my parents and family were so willing to shell out the extra cash to give me the change. Now I'm a student of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), and I'm thinking about minoring in English and Near Eastern Studies (which is basically the study of the Middle East--and also referred to as NES by those in the know). I've been studying Arabic, Creative Writing, Human Resources, Labor Law, Collective Bargaining, and all kinds of other courses, and I've gotten into the salsa and Latin dance scene here in Ithaca.

Some people may question why I changed schools. It's a combination of a lot of factors: my first semester at Iona, the lack of direction I felt in my academics, and the lack of a good Arabic program being a few. Plus, the acceptance packet Cornell sends out. Man, is it nice.

"But Cornell's such a big school--completely different from your other schools."

So I went to a really small high school and middle school (relatively), and I knew everyone in my graduating class. We were around 100 kids. All housed in the same building, all people who knew each other for a long time. And it was great. I had people who I was really close to, and I had people I'm still really good friends with, and I also had those people that I wasn't so close with, but with whom I could always talk. The virtue of going to such a small school for a long time (I think) was that you got to a point where there was virtually no-one you didn't have a common bond with, no-one with whom you didn't share at least teacher, and no-one that you absolutely could not find one good thing about, because you got to know them so much, even if you didn't really know them. Don't get me wrong, there were people I definitely did not like, and those people didn't like me. But at the end of the day, we all shared something.

I went to Iona because it was kind of like that--the setup (small, private, Catholic school) was relatively similar to my high school, but it was far enough away that I didn't feel like I had to come home that much. But trust me, there's a huge difference between college and high school, and I think it mostly comes into play with housing. In high school, you go home and you're home. Maybe your sibling goes to the same school, but the likelihood you have the exact same schedules is slim, and they are your family. You kind of have to deal with them. In college, not so much, especially if you're an out of state student, and especially if you also take almost every class with the people in your dorm. Now, some people may see this as a plus (props to them), but I'm here to say, that's not the case for everyone. It's great to have friends nearby in the same classes, but living and taking classes with them 24/7? Not so much in my case.

People often ask: Would you rather be a big fish in a little pond, or a small fish in a big pond? The answer is supposed to tell you something about the person's ambition, what they want out of life (do they want the security and respect of a little pond? Or the chance of a big one, the anonymity?) First of all, there is something inherently flawed in this question: To be either a big fish or a small fish, there must be fish of other sizes, or you are comparing the size of the fish to the pond. So perhaps the better question is: Would you rather be a relatively big fish compared to the small pond, or a relatively small fish in comparison to the large pond? I chose the relatively small fish in a big pond.

And with that choice comes my big news of the day: I'll been in Geneva, Switzerland, next semester (from September to December) working with the research branch of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

(And despite the very professional way I have presented this, yes I am very very excited about it.)

That's all for now!