'I've learned to have more faith in myself and my abilities'

Ramneek Sanghera

Government and Literatures in English
Granite Bay, Calif.

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

Cornell has taught me to think critically about difficult and complicated issues. I think when you're younger and in high school it can be very easy to go through the motions to just pass a class, but at Cornell I've really been able to stop and sort of learn how to enjoy the process of thinking and engaging with material instead of just feeling the satisfaction of knowing the material. And I think that this is in part because my education has been so theory heavy, but the humanities departments here really emphasize the process of thinking in a way I don't think I had experienced before coming to Cornell. 

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

As an underclassman, I joined so many different clubs but the ones that stick out as I get ready to graduate are Thread Magazine and Gender Justice Advocacy Coalition. Thread is a fashion magazine on campus, and I've been able to use it as a creative outlet during my time here. It's always so rewarding at the end of each semester to be able to hold this magazine that I helped create. Gender Justice Advocacy Coalition does a lot of what I believe is important work on campus. We helped fund period products you see in the bathrooms, and I'm so proud we've been able to make period hygiene more accessible for the entire Cornell population. 

family in front of Grand Canyon

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of?

The problem with being a Cornell student is that there are so many things you can do. I've worked with Professor Karim in her Gender and Security Sector Lab. I'm currently working for Ambassador Norman Eisen, which has been so rewarding. And I've spent a little over a year now working on my thesis in the literatures in English department. In all three of these experiences, I've been able to engage deeply with research topics ranging from military protests to voting rights to the Ukraine-Russia war to "Wuthering Heights." There's such a wide variety of things I've been able to explore during my education. 

How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell?

I'm a first-gen student, so growing up, college was this far away ideal I strived for but it always felt so out of reach. And when I first came to Cornell it was a little difficult to feel like I belonged here as a woman of color. Over my four years, I've just been able to grow so much more secure in my position here and that's in a large part due to the supportive professors I've had in both the English and government departments. And I've realized that I would often get in my own way, and that I should just have more faith in myself and my abilities. And this goes for all first-gen students and all women of color. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves, and we just need to learn how to be more gentle and caring with ourselves. 


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