Sydnie Chavez: 'All of my professors went out of their way to help'

Sydnie Chavez
Los Angeles, CA

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

I think the most valuable skill I gained from my A&S education was the ability to think with intent. I’ve always been quite the thinker and love to philosophize, but it’s always been difficult for me to pinpoint and articulate my ideas in a way that is structured. Doing an honors thesis especially has definitely helped me with this.

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

It’s not a traditional extracurricular but I love sitting on the slope or at the bench on the Beebe Lake trail (my favorite spot on campus!) and painting in my watercolor set or giving names to the trees.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

The memory I treasure the most happened on one of the last days in the week before I left campus due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I took pictures next to the statue of Ezra Cornell in a similar outfit and poses to the pictures I took during my first weekend visiting Cornell in April 2016. Though I had hoped to take those pictures in a cap and gown, I’ll always be extremely thankful that I got to recreate those photos and commemorate how far I’ve come.

How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell? What have you discovered about yourself?

I’ve discovered that it’s okay to take a break and ask for help. I was struggling a lot the first semester of my senior year with getting readjusted to academic life after spending so much time studying abroad (which has a different pace of academic life), with setting up my honors thesis, taking the GRE and applying to graduate school. During that time, I lightened my course load (something I never would have done before! I was a serial 5-6 classes a semester sort of crazy) and reached out to my professors for help. All of my professors were so welcoming and would go out of their way to help and check up on me, and I am so grateful for their support during that time.

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 Sydnie Chavez