Maxwell Murphy: 'The conversations that transpired from that late election night really rendered tangible how thoughtful students at Cornell are'

Mon, 05/23/2016

Maxwell Murphy

History of Art

New York City, NY

Why did you choose Cornell?

After attending a small high school, I was looking for a college that was big and diverse and that also offered the opportunity to get to know other students, staff and faculty members personally. I think that the College of Arts Sciences was the perfect fit for me; it has the feeling of the community associated with a small liberal arts school yet it has the resources of a large research university. Having the opportunity to be in small seminar classes with graduate and undergraduate students really made what appeared at first to be a large university small, approachable and individualized. Arts Sciences is the happy medium between a large university and a small liberal arts school.

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

I recently finished my honors thesis in the history of art on Vietnam-era protest art in the United States and the various mechanisms employed by artists to try to change society. It definitely was a large production; the research for it started nearly two years ago and I spent a big part of my senior year writing it. It is actually a bit bittersweet that it is done.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

I remember specifically the fall of my freshman year, in 2012. It was election season and everyone was gearing up for the presidential election. I remember my freshman floor all watched the returns together in the lounge. The genuine conversations that transpired from that late night really rendered tangible how thoughtful all the students at Cornell are.

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

Spend your BRBs (Big Red Bucks) wisely so you don't run out before the end of the semester. Classes are MUCH more rewarding when you do all the reading for them even if it seems overwhelming...I promise you will learn so much more and your Cornell experience will be all the more enriching. With that being said, it is important to have a balanced academic and social life and keeping those two forces in equilibrium is hard. All I can suggest is to plan your time.