I find myself at an interesting point in my life. Halfway done with my senior year at Cornell and filling out my grad school applications, I can’t help but think back four years, to when I was a high school senior applying for undergraduate programs. I seemed like a different person then. Even in the past year I feel like I’ve changed a great deal and come to realize a number of things I almost can’t imagine not having realized. Below, I list a number of epiphanies that have come to me in the last 365 days:
I may be introverted, but I am capable of having meaningful long conversations. It’s just a matter of finding the right people and the right topics. With the wrong person, no matter how much I want to talk to them or how much I like them, it’s mostly awkward stares, shoe shuffling, and tight-lipped smiles.
Sriracha tastes really good on fried rice.
My immune system is not invincible. Sophomore year, I don’t know how the hell I managed to live off of pizza and wings, and pull successive all-nighters drinking AMP and Red Bull, but I can’t do it anymore. When the nurse tells me I have a medical condition that is “normal,” but not something healthy, well-rested people are often afflicted by, I should take that as a sign.
Best friends aren’t necessarily the people you see the most often or talk to the most. They’re the ones who are on your mind even when you aren’t with them or haven’t spoken to them in a while. They might not always be there, but they’re there when you need. They’re the ones whose small gestures make large impacts. (Ok, this I guess I might have known for a while now, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded).
“Feminist” is not a dirty word.
I realized that it’s unrealistic to “have it all.” Not to say that we should settle or give up on our dreams. But everyone wants different things, and people shouldn’t have to explain their life decisions. Just because someone is qualified to do something doesn’t mean they should if they don’t want to.
When assigning stereochemistry to a chiral carbon, the priorities of the groups are ranked by number on the periodic table, not electronegativity (oops, that probably explains why I did so poorly on that particular part of orgo).
So much of who I am can be traced back to my parents and how they raised me, but despite them (or perhaps because of them) I am my own, unique person.
That after 21 years, I’m finally ready to leave Ithaca. Grad school somewhere new and exciting, here I come!