Max Carleton, St. Louis, Mo.May 1, 2012
St. Louis, Mo.
Area of Study
Student Organizations and Activities
Gamma Tau Pi fraternity, Lacrosse, Black Awareness Cultural Organization (BACO)
I want to work for a humanitarian organization, like Amnesty International or the United Nations, in building on and improving international relations. I would also like to be an interpreter or translator, perhaps for a company. Volunteering and helping in areas of the world that are in great need of assistance because of health or money problems also interests me.
Did you have any concerns about fitting in at Cornell?
When I first decided to come to Cornell, I wasn’t sure how much I would actually like it because I had never lived in a small town before, and I didn’t know if the block system would work for me. I also wasn’t sure if I would make any really good friends here, not easily anyway. Once I actually got here, though, all of these doubts disappeared. The small-town feel has grown on me, the block system works pretty great for me because it allows me to devote almost all of my energy to mastering a certain subject, and I had absolutely no problem making close friends.
What were initial impressions of the campus community?
My very first impression when I came to Cornell was how small the area seemed. Then I noticed how pretty everything was and how nice a quiet town can be. My floormates and the community in general helped a lot in feeling at home. Everything was pretty welcoming. The student organizations helped a lot, too, because they seemed to have a real interest in my interests and in making me feel comfortable here. The weather was probably the biggest surprise to me. I thought that Iowa had similar weather conditions to those of St. Louis, but once the winter set in, I was in awe of all the snow around. It took some getting used to at first, but now it seems much more normal to me, and it’s easier for me to find ways of enjoying it.
How have you grown at Cornell?
I think Cornell has helped me grow by exposing me to a wide variety of people. There are people here unlike any I have ever met, and interacting with them all, I think, helps to prepare me for what I will face in my future. I think I’m also better at expressing myself after having been at Cornell. My involvement in the groups and activities on campus has really helped me because it makes me go out and interact with the community and with the rest of the school in ways that otherwise I might not. I think one of my most influential experiences here, though, has been my trip to the San Salvador, Bahamas for a class. It gave me an entirely new outlook on history, economics, tourism, and places outside the U.S., especially how different other places can be.
How would you describe the campus culture other students of color?
The campus is pretty diverse and everyone gets along for the most part. Faces become more and more familiar so that everyone knows everyone else, at least somewhat. Cornell makes an effort to make international students and students of color feel more comfortable here, which is not always completely easy, and to make sure they have opportunities to have a good time. Cornell also makes sure to emphasize our international student and students of color population. They have culture shows, classes that focus on different cultures, and if someone can think of something else that could help strengthen cultural bonds, the school really encourages it.
Laughter is good for a person’s health.
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