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How Cornell Increased My Knowledge and Reasoning Skills

While Cornell offers so much to it’s students outside of the classroom, it’s important to remember what has brought us to this campus from the start: the opportunity to learn and grow. Here to talk about two components of that growth and learning are PAs Angie Mendez ’17 and Rose Andre ’16. 

Has Cornell Increased My Knowledge?

Before coming to College no one really knows what to expect. I know that when I first got to Cornell, I was just excited to be away from home. Now that I am a Junior, I have learned so much about myself, about the world, and in general–everything. After adjusting to being away from home and creating one here at Cornell I started to open up and learn about a bunch of things I have never thought about. One of the ways I have increased my knowledge here at Cornell has been by the people I have met. Since this campus is so Liberal there are so many minds and beliefs that you can get a feel of the different types of things that people have to teach you. I have a lot of friends who are involved in student orgs who raise awareness for specific topics, they help keep me informed allowing me to learn new things I have never thought about. Other than that, people here just teach you so much about how to live life and the differences in perspectives is important to have and use as you figure out your own thoughts.  I also credit a lot of the things I have learned to the experiences I have had here. All of the things I have experienced since coming to Cornell have helped me keep an open mind and realize that there is so much things to explore. Whether it is going to events out on by student orgs or driving four hours to see a concert with friends. I know that all these things help me experience new things and I end up taking something away from each and every one of them. Aside from all of that learning here at Cornell is easy when it comes to academics. The block system helps you get in depth of the material you are learning in class, which helps you absorb it more. Along with this, the teachers are helpful and want to make sure we understand all that they are giving us.
Cornell has definitely made an impact on me in many ways, but I can say that is has increased my knowledge and continues to contribute to things I learn every day, in all the ways I just mentioned and I am sure much more. I think that is important to come to college with the willingness to learn and an open mind. This will make it so much easier to learn and help you appreciate everything that comes your way as you start your college journey.
–Angela Mendez ‘17

How My Reasoning Skills Have Improved

I have changed in nearly unfathomable amounts in the last three years. I have expanded, finding new facets to my person. I have become so different from who I was leaving high school that I’m not sure my old self could ever have predicted these changes. A grand part of this new way of being is my compounded ability to reason. I am so much more rational than I was. When I left high school, I was very reactive to my emotions: I was profoundly unable to separate an occurrence from my emotional reaction. Everything was felt in extremes. Part of this was certainly the hormonal imbalance that has likely evened out, but I definitely recognize how much was simply an unawareness of my ability to first contemplate a situation rationally, and then react. I am much better at handling not only my emotional reactions to frustrating and challenging events, but I problem-solve more efficiently, I’m much more self-disciplined, and I’m less prone to self-sabotage. I have become a streamlined, focused, powerful version of who I was, with much of the unnecessary drama and emotionally over charged reactions minimized or dealt with more efficiently. My life is simpler and more enjoyable because of my ability to reason. My emotions empower me, instead of creating strife and trouble.
These reasoning skills have not exactly come easy to me. I’m a very emotional, intuitive person, and it has always made the most sense to me to rely on those parts of me first. However, I realized through social rebuttal and academic difficulty that emotions don’t always have a  reason to be present. They are sometimes even debilitating, especially when a conflict is only heightened by someone getting emotional. Getting upset rarely ever helps an already tense situation. However, it is important to acknowledge the emotions you are feeling; they can give you a great deal of subtle information about yourself and the situation. The next step is not to then react to this acknowledgement, but to rationally decide if it is going to help or hinder you. More often than not, without forethought, it hinders. My personal definition of what it means to be a mature person is defined by how well someone can separate their emotional reaction to a situation from their actual self-directed actions toward it. This requires both awareness and discipline, two qualities that enhance the ability to reason.
The community at Cornell has played a critical role in my transformation. By being around people I cherish and respect, I have learned the importance of being a reasonable person, and how rationality enhances my friendships and relationships with professors, staff, and other students. I have learned that academically, rationality is an advantage in many ways, including the benefits of self-discipline and time management, for which I give complete credit to the Block Plan. The things that have I was always told were just “common sense” have become much more solidified in their utility and importance. I take my passions in life much more seriously, because, rationally, these passions are what will bring my life pervasive meaning and joy. I have been taught how to think, how to question, how to examine and analyse, and I see the direct benefit of these skills everyday in my relationships and the general proficiency with how I handle life’s consistent difficulties.
Rose Andre ’16

Thanks to these Cornellians for sharing their thoughts! As this is the last blog post I’m editing this summer–and I’m about to go off campus for a semester–it’s time to get a tad nostalgic. And to help–I’ll rely on a playlist. 

I’m listening to music as I work and the Lucius song “Go Home” just came on. For newer Cornellians or the extended Cornell family, Lucius was an up and coming, indie band when they played Cornell in the fall of 2013, and to this day, it is the live performance I subconsciously compare all other concerts to. I’ve seen so many bands on campus that while they may not be big names to anyone else, have found their way into my favorite playlists and forever into my head. The Cornell experience is a lot like that–you show up to a concert, not knowing what to expect, and fall in love with something you never would have found otherwise. And the most surprising thing about Cornell, at least for me? That you’ll find friends to stumble along into finding new bands and adventures together. I think it’s impossible to quantify the knowledge and reasoning skills one gains at Cornell. But when a favorite song comes on your playlist and you smile, with memories and beloved friends coming to mind, it all feels a little more tangible. Memories are like songs: you have favorites, but there is always room for more and a new playlist. 

The sheer immensity of new knowledge I’ve gained at Cornell is to vast to delve into. I’ve been engaged in my field, challenged, and have grown in my understanding, my curiosities, my work ethic, and so much more. I’ve learned that to grow, you have to admit when you’re in the wrong and to learn from that–and to have someone else proof your writing. 

I am so glad that as I set out for this next adventure and those to come in the future, Cornell has equipped me to explore my curiosities about the world, have a playlist of familiar and favorite songs (and memories) at the ready, and has conditioned me to say yes to any and every concert in search of new favorite songs. Just in that rambling, I realized how my reasoining skills have been honed–I’m ready for new adventures and realize that making new memories doesn’t mean the old, beloved ones are going to fade. –L