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Elie's Graduation Post

For those of you who missed Elie's fantastic graduation ruminations, be sure to give them a read. He captures a quintessential understanding of Cornell student life: there is no one defining experience:

I wrote a few weeks ago that there was "no broad sense of the Cornell community." I may have been wrong. You have to wait four years, but on graduation day, there is an undeniable sense of community. With everyone in the black robes, with the packed stadium, and the perfect sunshine, it was a strikingly positive final memory of Cornell.

Cornell is an anonymous place. Of the 130 people who shared my major, I had never spoken to half of them. But Cornell works because it allows each person to create a distinct experience. What binds us together is the realization that we each passed through this place and came out as a different person. Sometimes, as students travel along these solitary paths, they lose their direction and tragedy ensues. For most, though, this journey is immensely rewarding.

My one graduation wish for Cornell is that I hope that my alma mater will seek its own identity in the higher education community. Stop obsessing about being one of the Ivies, and start being Cornell. Stop worrying about the rankings, and celebrate the large student body and our lack of extreme exclusivity. Stop worrying that we are located so far from major metropolitan areas, and celebrate all that Ithaca and its miserable winters have to offer. Stop worrying that our name is being associated with tragedy, and celebrate that our name is associated with unprecedented athletic success.

Just as students at Cornell seek their own paths, so may Cornell diverge from what is expected of it. As this happens, perhaps Cornell will move away from the unfortunate combination of grade inflation and the hook-up culture. It's hard to gain much from Cornell when you're scraping out a 3.5 while never leaving Collegetown and its bars.

But I don't want to end on a negative note. I am a proud Cornellian, and I will forever be one.

Hard not to agree with that.

Elie also mentions that he hopes to contribute to MetaEzra in the future, a prospect I welcome with open arms. This project was always intended to be a group blog reflecting a diversity of alumni voices.

But he's too modest in suggesting that he might have to restrict himself to sports topics on this blog -- over the years he has proved himself to have a commanding knowledge and an insightful perspective of all things Cornell, and I seriously doubt I was as perceptive as him when I was an undergraduate.

He leaves us with a riddle. Where can we find the the following inscription in Ithaca: 'Here may you too find beauty - goodness - truth.' My shot-in-the-dark guess is the Quaker meditation hut by Ithaca Falls, an idyllic local if you've never stumbled upon it.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on June 03, 2010 (#)

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