'I am proud of the self-knowledge I've gained'

Maia Zhang

Mathematics and French
Newark, N.J.

Why did you choose Cornell?

In high school, I was obsessed with Carl Sagan and astronomy. Thus, Cornell was the only school I ever applied to. 

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

girl wearing mask

I love to skateboard. It is free (and loud). When I skate, nothing else exists. Shout out to the Cornell Skateboarding Club!

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

I am proud of the self-knowledge I've gained and the ability to admit when I need help, both academically, physically and mentally. 

How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell? What have you discovered about yourself?

Since arriving at Cornell, I've developed a much more nuanced understanding of gender and bodily identity. I went from a place of indifference (or ignorance) to one of appreciation and connection.

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

Don't worry about making friends right away. It sounds cheesy, but the right people find their way into your life when you keep an open mind.  

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 2021.

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