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James 'Jimmy' Crowell of Scituate, Mass., studied government, minored in international relations and Spanish
Why did you choose Cornell?
I chose Cornell because I was unsure about what I wanted to study. Cornell presented so many options for a course of study that I felt reassured about starting college with no chosen field. I also was attracted to the size of Cornell and its stunningly beautiful location. Being from a small, homogenous community, Cornell has given me the opportunity to meet so many unique people who have taught me more than any book has.
Main Cornell extracurricular activity -- why is it important to you?
My writing for the news section of the Cornell Daily Sun, which allowed me to practice something completely foreign: journalism.
While at Cornell, what other accomplishments/activities are you most proud of?
My undergraduate research and honors thesis on repressive tendencies of partially democratizing autocrats, which was made possible by my Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholarship.
Your most profound turning point while at Cornell?
Studying abroad for a semester in Seville, Spain, with Spanish students at the Universidad de Sevilla -- it was the most challenging, but most rewarding situation of my life. It expanded my worldview and opened my eyes to different cultures and ways of living. I also gained much more confidence in my independence and my perseverance.
Did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
My belief in people has changed profoundly -- I had never met and befriended such compassionate and caring people before. I come from a family of lobster fishermen in Massachusetts that runs back eight generations. I love the ocean and working with my father on his boat, but it has never been what I wanted to do with my life. Although I feel guilty ending the family tradition, my father and family have encouraged my studies at Cornell. My background initially made it very difficult for me to relate to other students here and feel confident about who I was and where I was from. However, I've realized that coming from little has made me a stronger person and has allowed me to stay focused on what really matters in life. People outside of my family had never inspired me or supported me like my friends here have. I have truly made lifelong friends not only with other students, but also with faculty members. I owe them so much.
What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I plan to work first a paralegal or other type of legal assistant and then to decide whether law school is a good choice for me.
What Cornell-related scholarships/special financial benefits did you receive?
In addition to the Rawlings scholarship, which supported my research, I also received substantial financial aid from the university, without which I never would have been able to study here.
What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?
How my friends stayed with me for hours, sacrificing their own time to comfort me when my right lung collapsed sophomore year and I was in and out of the hospital, eventually having surgery. I was so far from my family, but my friends spent hours by my bedside, neglecting their own responsibilities to be with me. I had never been so touched before. It made me realize what a true friend really is and how fortunate I am to have them in my life.
What are your plans for next year and beyond?
I plan to work first a paralegal or other type of legal assistant and then to decide whether law school is a good choice for me.