What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?
During the second half of my freshman year, there came a moment where I had just internally transferred into the College of Arts & Sciences, but still had little to no clue about what my major would be. One dean listened to my worries, but simply told me, "Take a course in each subject. Take whatever interests you." This was the first time I had been told to take full charge of my education by wandering, but it was the most liberating and exciting start for the rest of my Cornell journey.
How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
I developed a greater interest in learning about my own identity and roots. Cornell is made up of such a diverse student body in racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and this makes one stop and think deeply about one's own identity and one's origins. In this way, I became very interested in learning about Asia on a deeper level through history, literature and art.
If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?
Make the most out of being surrounded by brilliance. In office hours, your professors and TAs are always more than happy to get to know their students and answer any questions. Also, in office hours, go ahead and ask them about their current research. Office hours are the best time where you aren't confined by the time limits in class to learn more about your professors' specialties, and you'll often get wonderful life advice as well as career guidance. Also, you and your peers are budding experts already in your respective fields — learn about what your friends are truly passionate about and you'll gain a much greater sense of respect and understanding for subjects outside of your own.