Alex Rehberg: 'Don't take yourself too seriously'

Alex Rehberg

Performing & Media Arts & Government

Boca Raton, FL

Why did you choose Cornell?

Ultimately, I chose Cornell for the vibrant student life. I applied to Cornell very late in the application cycle and knew nothing of New York or life in the Northeast. I was accepted and visited Cornell during Cornell Days and really decided to attend Cornell sitting outside Collegetown Bagels eating ice cream in the then-freezing 50-degree weather – which is about the coldest it gets in my home town – very proud of myself for "braving the cold." I was also eavesdropping on the different conversations going on around me – one table was discussing contentious issues on campus, the other about a concert they wanted to attend. At this moment, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Snow (Hey Oh)" came on, and that is when I knew this was the university for me.

What accomplishments/activities are you most proud of while at Cornell?

Believe it or not simply graduating Cornell – which at the end is easy to say "simply" – will be my greatest achievement. No one in my family has gone to or graduated from a four-year university, so the simple understandings that I'm coming home for "X" break or even that I will have to find temporary housing over the summer for "Y" internship, was completely foreign to my family. No one knew what or why I was doing the things I was doing, and I essentially went about most of my journeys here alone. Simple luxuries that people experienced because their parents were once in their shoes – I had to learn as I went.

What do you value about your liberal arts education?

What I value most about my liberal arts education is the fact that my first two years, when I thought I had a clear vision for what I wanted to study and do with the rest of my life, I could take classes that shifted my ways of thinking and lead me to a much different path. Had I not taken the liberal arts path, I think I may have been locked down into a path that I wasn't necessarily meant to take. The freedom of courses in a liberal arts education mirrors the freedom I now have over my academic and life path after Cornell.

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

From the get-go, learn to make time not to do work and subsequently take time to not take yourself and your surroundings too seriously. Everyone here is good at getting their work done and divvying up their day to study – and you will have no time consuming all hours of the day working. You have years to worry about what kind of job you will get, how that one paper impacted your overall GPA, etc. Instead, walk to the gorge, go to the State Street Theatre. Live!

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