In August 2021, I packed my life in two suitcases and left Monterrey, Mexico with no mixed emotions at all. All I could feel was excitement and this overwhelming happiness that took over any thought of nostalgia or sadness.

I drove into Ithaca with my family and explored the place that was to be my home for the next three years (I’m a transfer student). I sat on the slope, went to Beebe Lake, visited Uris and Olin Libraries, and after a couple of days, I said goodbye to my parents and sister right at the entrance of Cascadilla Hall as the sun set.

As soon as I went inside, the feelings finally caught up with me. I’m not going to lie, I suddenly felt extremely lonely and lost. I now had to live with a person I had never met before and explore a place that I knew only a fraction of. It seemed like an adventure that became dreadful from one second to another.

Cornell Engineering student ReginaAdjusting to life at Cornell took time and a lot of hard work. Not only did I have to adjust to seeing a different variety of the alphabet in my letter grades, but making friends was a hustle too. I will spare you the details, but if you find yourself struggling to connect with other people it’s completely fine. Real friendships take time and they will come along the way.

We see the college experience as one that is going to resemble the movies and work out perfectly, but we fail to recognize that real life is nothing like that (sometimes).

I will never forget the night after my first evening exam. 2930 Differential Equations made me question every single decision that brought me to Cornell Engineering; I know, as my mom would say, drama queen.

After the exam, I was supposed to meet this group of people to complete a homework assignment we had due the next day, but one of the guys (whom I call bestie Jonathan today) called me and said we were all getting ice cream first.

This chaotic girl pulled up in front of Duffield Hall and drove us off-campus. She is one of my best friends today and took me skiing for the first time ever; I almost gave her a heart attack because I apparently have a thing for speed.

That night we sat at Purity Ice Cream and whined about the horrible prelim we’ve all just had. The other girl that was with us pulled up her phone and snapped a picture while we all looked miserable; this is one of my favorite photos as these people are now my best friends.

As the semester went on, I found myself building relationships that today make Cornell a home. I also mastered my studying habits and found the Cornell rigor a little bit more manageable. Most importantly, I was able to get to know myself at a whole new different level.

This entire experience is shaping my character and truly I would not have it in any other way. I am far away from home and miss my family and friends dearly, but I have come to enjoy this adventure so much that every second of every day at Cornell counts.

~Regina, environmental engineering major