The Fall 2020 semester was anything but normal and ordinary. However, I believe that it’s outside our “normality” boundaries that the most growth happens. This semester reminded me once again of how thankful I am to study at Cornell University. Starting with the solid line of communication they maintained at all times with us as students, to all of the professors being extremely understanding, helpful, and above all…human.
That human connection is the part that I love most from Cornell and the US education system overall. Different from Albania, professors at Cornell are not afraid to accept their human side in front of their students, they do not fear the “not knowing” or the possibility to make an error, or even the fact that a student might know something they don’t in their own field. “I actually don’t know that, will get back to you later if I figure it out”, it’s an actual answer from a professor which I have always found so new and amusing as an Albanian, and I absolutely love it. I loved it, even more, this semester.
Professors that were sharing their struggles to organize and prioritize their work, just as us students, professors who were giving deadline extensions while asking for our patience with grading, professors who were admitting their fears and worries while facing this pandemic. It all created a strong human bound and connection, which took my educational experience to another level this semester.
Studying in a midst of a pandemic, was not about overachieving, it was all about learning the importance of our human side within the academic and professional life, and I think that is a lesson I will carry with me always.
Ina Yzeiraj, MIP Fellow, currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration with a concentration on Education Policy at Cornell University, NY