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Hill Away From Home

In June I went to an exhibit in London that had human brains on display. When I saw them in their glass jars, I turned to my friend and said, “When I was little, my dad used to take us to see the brain collection at Cornell.” As I looked closer I saw that they […]

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Cayuga LakeIn June I went to an exhibit in London that had human brains on display. When I saw them in their glass jars, I turned to my friend and said, “When I was little, my dad used to take us to see the brain collection at Cornell.” As I looked closer I saw that they were, in fact, from the Cornell Department of Psychology. I felt as if I were visiting some old friends.

When I was fourteen, my family moved from a small town north of Manhattan to the South of France. Since then we’ve been traveling all over the world. The one place we’ve always come back to is our house on Cayuga Lake, which we bought almost twenty years ago. Here we spend our days sailing, swimming, and taking advantage of all that Cornell has to offer.

I grew up spending weekends and summers with my Hotelie dad (Hakan Sokmensuer ’80), leading my sisters and me through the halls of the Statler, having us put our hand inside a cow at the Vet school open house, eating lunch at the Ivy Room, and passing footballs on Schoellkopf Field. I still remember clearly the day in 1997 that we went to see the pumpkin atop McGraw Tower. This is why, even though I never went to school here, I feel like Cornell is my home away from home. My parents say that I’m an insider on the outside.

Last year I visited my sister (Kamuran Sokmensuer ’12, also a Hotelie) and got to pretend to be a student. It felt strange blending in when for so long I felt like I stood out. I was now the right age and in the company of a current student. After a few days I started to see the campus in a new way. I felt as if I was a part of the student body and had been for years. Instead of peeking into the classrooms, I was now sitting in them.

Sometimes I wish I’d applied to Cornell—I’m currently studying journalism at the University of the Arts London—but other times I enjoy the fact that in some ways, the Hill is still full of secrets and closed doors. I look forward to the time when my own children and I spend summers on the lake, and I can show them the joys of Cornell.

— Harriet Sokmensuer

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