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Olivia Angsten: 'There aren’t many places that let you write essays about Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Mon, 04/30/2018

Olivia Angsten

Archaeology

Sarasota, FL

Why did you choose Cornell?

Cornell, more than most other schools and especially other Ivy League schools, offers so many opportunities in almost every field imaginable, even if you were completely unsure of what you wanted to major in, like me. There were so many amazing and interesting classes offered here, and there is so much freedom to explore. And besides, there aren’t many places that let you write essays about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

What, if any, research projects did you participate in at Cornell?

I am currently working on a thesis, doing research on ancient magical practice in Roman Egypt, and how it relates to women’s agency. It’s a bit obscure, but it’s such an interesting topic that I don’t think I’d be able to research just anywhere. I also had the opportunity to do some archaeological fieldwork with a Cornell professor this past summer. I was working at a rural Roman site in Tuscany, looking at questions of innovation. It was amazing not only being in Tuscany for an entire month, but also having the opportunity to do actual fieldwork with some amazing faculty.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

Take advantage of all the opportunities you can, and try something new. Cornell is an amazing place full of open doors, but nobody is going to hold your hand through it all. But that’s the beautiful thing! You get to decide what it is you want to do with your life, and you get to decide what you want your support network to look like. Take a random PE class for fun, go to that club meeting and take that weird class you saw a flyer for. Even bad experiences help you figure out who you are and what you want.

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