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Cornell University has come to mean something much greater to me than its Ivy League status alone conveys. When I first visited Cornell, I was amazed by the feeling of connectedness the campus emitted. It didn’t seem as though everybody was just there, so to say, but rather that they had a certain relationship with one another which transcended their day-to-day meetings. Indeed, it was fascinating that while everything around me was vast in scale—the campus, the student body, the number of professors—simultaneously everything seemed so limited and intricate. I could not help but want to be a part of this rich academic community. Yet there also appeared another dimension of connectedness which extended beyond this one. Hundreds of clubs, hockey games, and the Greek system, among other things, all brought members of the university even closer. What seemed to emerge was an enormous and diverse community united not just in one, but many modes of life.
At Cornell, I also found many signs that a truly great education was being provided to its students. This was made evident by the highly intellectual atmosphere which pervaded the school even in its most casual settings. Quite frequently, I overheard student conversations with subject matters ranging from astrophysics to psychology. In all cases, it seemed not only that those students I encountered had a passion for learning, but that their passion was complemented and driven by the very real notion that they were learning from the experts of their respective fields.
Of course, there was no dire need to visit Cornell, or to observe with any great attention any of these things, to know that it was one of the finest academic institutions in the world. I could have just as easily picked-up the latest U.S. News college rankings or perused a myriad of websites including Cornell’s, which organized the university’s compelling facts and figures into the columns and rows of finely-ordered tables. But to see exemplified in the everyday functioning of the school that excellence which was previously only an abstraction for me, made Cornell truly remarkable.
C.S. Lewis once wrote: “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” Accordingly, what has inspired my application to Cornell is the hope of being counted among the many distinguished Cornell students and teachers whom I hold in such high regard. They form, in my opinion, one of the very best “circles” with which one could hope to surround himself. To become something greater or more evolved than I am—as a student and as a person—is my goal, and I believe Cornell to provide the very best context for its realization.
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