Finding My Brooks Family

Blog Post

Alice Alice L.

After spending the last seven years at a small, all-girls private school, changing schools—let alone moving across the country to a big university—was a huge transition I hesitated to take on. My high school graduating class had 92 other students, and each class had 20 students at most. I was very comfortable in the bubble of peers I grew up with and felt connected to every one of my classmates.

However, joining the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy made my college transition much easier and smoother. Finding a small community within a large university was my key to adapting to college life, and the Brooks School provided just that. As soon as I entered orientation, I felt a sense of belonging and was instantly welcomed by the Brooks student ambassadors. From then on, I knew that the Brooks community was the right choice and would allow me to fit right into my new home in Ithaca!

The Brooks School of Public Policy provides many resources for incoming students to assimilate into their new environment. For example, all Brooks students take a first-year advising class called Building Success at Brooks, essentially a jumpstart advising course. The course introduces new Brooks School students to career resources and advising tools and allows them to meet fellow Brooks School students in a close-knit setting. I looked forward to this class every Wednesday; it felt like a breath of fresh air amidst my more difficult courses and gave me the time to interact with my Brooks School community. The tight bonds I created in this class introduced me to some of my closest friends, and now we take lunch breaks at Martha’s Cafe or entertain ourselves with debriefs on the Martha Van Rensselaer atrium couches. Furthermore, the Brooks School's various events, such as the Holiday Jeopardy Party or lunches with professors, make the grander Cornell experience much more intimate and easier to engage with.

Additionally, the Brooks School’s interdisciplinary nature allows room for students to explore various interests with a policy focus. As I explore my professional concentrations, I interact with others with diverse interests, yet we all share a passion for making an impact through policy.

I am grateful to be a part of the Brooks community; it allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds: finding my own public policy family while exploring the greater resources that Cornell University provides. While I initially felt apprehensive about my transition to college, joining the Brooks community immediately established a sense of belonging and community in me, and I am grateful for the home I have cultivated.