Houchins-McCallum ’22 speaks on relationships, success

Every year Cornell celebrates its graduating seniors at Commencement with their closest friends and families. We also like to highlight a number of seniors online as they transition from college student to college grad and join Cornell’s growing community of alumni.

Senior Olivia Houchins-McCallum
Olivia Houchins-McCallum

Olivia Houchins-McCallum

B.A. in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Studio Art

Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa

“Your relationships with people have a lot to do with your success in life.”

What do you think you’ve learned since being at Cornell that you did not know before you arrived?

I cannot list all that I have learned here at Cornell, but something important that I will not forget is that your relationships with people have a lot to do with your success in life.

Who helped you along your college journey?

I could not have made it through my four years at Cornell without my incredible professors, other campus staff, and especially my friends and family. My friends and family were there for me no matter what I needed, from a study buddy to someone to ask for advice about my roommate. Their willingness to always cheer me on has pushed me to succeed.

Describe the block plan.

The block plan is a unique schedule where instead of taking multiple classes a semester, you take one class at a time, called a block. There are four blocks in a semester and eight in a year. Classes usually happen for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. The block plan is amazing because it allows you to focus on learning one subject at a time instead of balancing a bunch of different subjects with work, athletics, and other extracurriculars. The block plan is challenging but allows you to really dive deep into your subject and to make meaningful connections with your classmates and professors.

What is your advice to the classes behind you?

To the upcoming classes, be kind, work hard, and take care of yourself! It seems obvious and simple but your grades, your friendships, and your ability to overcome challenges, all depend on you being present for yourself as well as others. Giving your all doesn’t work if you then have nothing left for yourself.