Guest Blogger: Hayley Uzpen ’17
Hayley, a PA for NSO 2015, talks about finding your place–and people–at Cornell.
Starting college can tend to feel a little overwhelming. You are in a new place, with a new set of peers and finding where you belong can seem like a daunting task. New Student Orientation is a great place to begin to try to find where you feel most comfortable at Cornell. NSO offers you the chance to get to know your new classmates and their interests, as well as develop an idea of what you might be interested academically and with extracurriculars.
Cornell doesn’t just stop at NSO to help you explore interests: during the first couple weeks of school, Cornell holds their annual Student Activities Fair where most of the 50 plus student organizations and clubs on campus gather on the Orange Carpet and share about their group. During this time you can visit any booth which catches your interest and sign up to receive emails from these groups about when they meet, a little more about what they are about, and what they do during the year. The fair is a great way to see all of what Cornell has to offer you. If you happen to have an area of interest that Cornell doesn’t currently have a club or organization for, it is really easy to start your own group on campus. On the block plan it is important to have things to engage you outside of the classroom. Being involved on campus is a good way to meet people, learn about Cornell and the community, and stay involved in the school.
If you are looking for more of a social group, Cornell also offers a Meet the Greeks early in the fall, where you can meet all of the 15 sororities and fraternities of Cornell from the comfort of the Commons! During this time you can meet the active members and discover their values, history, and tradition.
The best advice that I received as a first year was to be a “joiner”. To experience all that Cornell has to offer, I think that this was really good advice. Go ahead and sign up for all of the clubs that interest you; out of there, chances are that you will find at least one group of like minded people who you can feel that shared connection and sense of community with . By joining groups on campus you get to know different ages at Cornell and make some unique connections. As you continue to attend meetings and events you can see which groups you are really passionate about and from there you can find your niche.
If organized clubs and other student groups do not really interest you, Cornell also offers lectures, presentations, and other extracurricular academic activities that you can attend. From these events you can meet others who are interested in the same subjects as you. Finding your place at Cornell comes from trial and error; as an incoming student don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, to experience all of Cornell.
Thanks to Hayley for this advice! Finding a niche in a new environment can seem scary, but there’s a place for everyone at Cornell. Don’t be afraid to try new things and go out of your comfort zone–you’re bound to find something of interest and other’s who feel the same. Cornell is a unique campus and is home to unique Cornellians–you’ll find your “place”, wherever that may be, and along the way, you’re bound to meet some pretty interesting people, and among them, “your people”. Keep in mind that over your time at Cornell, you will find multiple niches. I’ve heard Cornell society described as an ecosystem, and I really think it is–every single person on this campus brings something important to the campus climate, and in turn, that campus spirit of Cornell becomes a new home. We can’t wait to grow with you on campus!