The Cornell alum and sponsor dinner was probably one of the best experiences of my life. Not only was the food amazing, and expensive, but also extremely informative and fun to be at. The entire experience actually all began at the El Cerrito Plaza Bart Station, well before we even ever arrived in the city. I was able to chat with Chiamaka Nwadike, who attended University of Pennsylvania's Social Justice program, and Shanti Shrestha, who attended Cornell University's Hotel Management program. They both gave amazing advice and insight on what we should expect from our classes, what to bring, how to ensure we don't receive freshman 15 during the summer, and much more.
Once we actually got on the Bart train, heading towards San Francisco, I sat down next to Hummd Alikhan, who attended Vanderbilt and is a soon to be student at Cornell University. At first, I was a little bit shy and unsure of what to do to make a good impression, but soon I found myself not even thinking about impressions and just being myself. She told me about how attending Vanderbilt changed her career choice completely. After attending Vanderbilt, she knew she couldn't be the doctor she always thought herself to be because she couldn't handle it when they were passing around human body parts. From this experience, she learned that never be too set on a certain career because there might be something out there better for you or that your "set" career might not suit you as much as you think. This was the first time I was told this piece of advice throughout the ILC dinner.
The second time I heard this piece of advice was from Jesus Verduzco. He's part of Cornell University's class of 1999. While he went to Cornell for engineering, he is now apart of an organization that attempts to achieve health equity. The biggest thing he kept going back to was about giving different options a chance. He realized throughout college that his true passion didn't lie with engineering. He also gave us the advice that degrees don't necessarily matter. Despite having an engineering degree from a highly prestigious school or the rigors he went through to get that degree, he's only used the material he's gained from getting that degree once or twice (only the math part of it) and his current job doesn't really have anything to do with what he did in college. I didn't really get to talk to Doug Mitarotonda, Cornell's class of 2002, but he seemed like a really cool guy and personally wrote his gmail onto the very cool business card that he gave to each of us.
The last part of my dinner was when we all got back on the Bart, heading back to El Cerrito. Right before we got on the Bart train and during the ride, I chatted with Mr. Boyega (one of the sponsors for ILC and panelist for the Cornell Cohort). He told me all about starting his own business and how his career changed throughout the years (the third time somebody gave me this piece of advice). This was especially interesting to me because I want to start my own business someday.
After hearing all the personal experiences of all these amazing people, I'm that much more excited to experience my own adventure at Cornell University and see where it takes me. Whether I find out that I want nothing to do with psychology (I am taking "The Individual in the Social World") or that I want to further my knowledge in it as I progress in life.