'Your experience here is what you make of it'

Wesley Kang

History
Vienna, Va.

Why did you choose Cornell?

I chose Cornell because I had no idea what I wanted to study, but I knew I wanted to receive the best education possible in whatever field I chose. I ended up choosing history and have fallen in love with the discipline. However, I have also had the opportunity to take many other courses at Cornell in fields outside of history, ranging from philosophy and comparative literature to computer science, government and economics. My explorations in taking interdisciplinary courses reflect one of my favorite things about Cornell. Your experience here is what you make of it, and whatever curiosities or interests you seek to pursue, Cornell will have the resources to support you.

man with pumpkin on top of his head

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

It may be a cliché, but the most valuable skill I gained at Cornell is the ability to think critically. Studying history in particular has vastly changed the ways in which I make sense of the world and our place in it. What I have learned in my history classes is not so much what happened in the past, but rather how to put in perspective how past cultures and societies have constructed particular systems of meaning different from those we might find in the present. Inherent to studying history is thus a reflexive learning process in which we, as observers from the present, are forced to reconcile the limitations of our own knowledge when examining questions about the past. Navigating this reflexive learning process has been perhaps the most exciting aspect of my undergraduate education, as it has forced me time and again to reconsider the ways in which I view the world and perspectives different from my own.

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

man standing by the ocean

My main extracurricular activity was working jobs; lots of different jobs. I was admitted as a Cornell Tradition fellow, which is a scholarship program that requires students to commit to a certain amount of work and service hours each semester as part of their financial aid. Serving as a Tradition fellow has allowed me to experiment with many opportunities across campus that I otherwise would not have known about. I have worked as an office assistant at Olin Hall, an archives intern at The History Center in Tompkins County, a museum assistant at the Johnson Museum of Art, an English language support speaking group facilitator, and a cashier at the Temple of Zeus cafe in Klarman Hall. Each of my jobs took me to a different community on campus, where I got to make new friends and get involved in all kinds of different projects totally unrelated to the things I was learning in class. These experiences are exactly what made working jobs so enjoyable for me. 

 

Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2022.

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