John Souza: 'Take classes your freshman year that are very outside your comfort zone'

Thu, 04/25/2019

John Souza

Archaeology & Comparative Literature

Modesto, CA

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

Quidditch is my primary extracurricular activity. It is important to me because it represents a material manifestation of one of my early passions (reading and reading "Harry Potter"), and has given me the ability to share my own Harry Potter experience with others. Furthermore, it has been one of my most consistent friend groups during my time at Cornell, and has provided support and something to look forward to even during the hardest of weeks. I think I should also give a shout out to the Friends of Tompkins County Library Book sale. Twice a year, the Friends of the Library put on a book sale with over 100,000 books. I have purchased over 100 books from this sale over the course of my four years of waking up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday to be one of the first to the sale. This gives me something exciting to look forward to each semester, and represents my favorite of the Ithaca events. 

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

I would say to take classes your freshman year that are very outside your comfort zone. During your freshman year, you have the greatest opportunity to do this. Cornell is a far better experience if you know what type of classes interest you and what type of classes do not. Therefore, taking a greater breadth of classes early on will greatly benefit you as you go through. Furthermore, do not neglect your own health in the pursuit of your studies. It is very common to do so, as Cornell, in spite of all its positives, can be a very stressful experience. You should remember that you are more important than your grades. It is never worth it to sacrifice your own well-being for a college grade. I also recommend finding some kind of social activity that you enjoy your freshman year. College is four years, and there will be some lonely times, as well as some wonderful times. If you have some kind of social structure in place, it is a lot easier to deal with the lonelier times, and understand that there are people who care about you.

Male student wearing red t-shirt that reads "Cornell Quidditch"