Cornell Engineering students NavinLooking back at the past four years, I see the evolution of an unconfident freshman uncertain of what he wanted to do, to a senior that is ready to graduate and face the challenges of the working world. My time as a senior, especially as a senior in the middle of a pandemic, has made me appreciate the people I’ve met, the education I’ve received, the events I’ve participated in. The struggles of my computer science problem sets were overshadowed by the triumphs of writing code that worked. The daunting tasks of certain projects were overshadowed by the relationships I developed with people who worked with me in classes over the past four years.

I vividly remember my first Cornell Hackathon during my sophomore year – staying up for ungodly hours, writing a messy amalgam of code with three other individuals I knew from the project team I had just joined. Somehow, held together with hundreds of lines of code and a prayer, we were able to create a barely functioning racing game where you controlled the car with your body movement and your webcam. My group would play test for hours, less so to improve the game and more so to have fun watching someone run side-to-side in hopes of having their car avoid obstacles. Winning “Most Unique Project” at that hackathon felt almost like a vindication that maybe the community I found in computer science and in the engineering department was where I belonged and where I would thrive.

As an Cornell Engineer, it was always welcoming to completely reject the stereotypical idea of what it’s like to be an engineering student by taking classes that complemented my education in a non-technical way. I took Introduction to Acting as one of my liberal studies to explore a starkly different field, and it was by far one of the best decisions I could have made. I thoroughly remember rolling around on the floor in this class as a warmup, learning how to be flamboyant while speaking tongue twisters and fully accept being myself. Suddenly, in my other engineering classes, I felt more vocal, more willing to speak in front of others without the nervousness or the fear of embarrassment.

I came into Cornell Engineering expecting a great education – and I received that. But what’s more important to me is how my experiences at Cornell will shape me as an individual for years to come. I know that by meeting such eclectic groups of people, and taking such oddly fascinating classes, I’m not just a walking GPA; I’m a student ready for anything the world has to throw at me.

~Navin, computer science