By June Liu
As I adjust my tutu backstage and stare down at my bare feet, the combination strikes me as odd. Doesn't a performance of "La Esmeralda" always require ballet slippers? Can elements of ballet coexist with "Wild Dances," a Ukrainian pop folk song--a far cry from Pugni? These unorthodox pairings are the result of a piece I choreographed in junior year that intersected ballet, jazz, and modern dance.
The creative risk-taking and the blending of disciplines exemplified in my dance mirror my versatile academic passions and how I hope to study them. I am drawn to the opportunity at Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences to design my own curriculum so I can immerse myself in economics, film studies, and classical studies.
My career goals will require this wide breadth of knowledge. I am interested in going into film distribution and starting my own production company. I plan on partnering my limitless creativity with my strong critical thinking and quantitative skills to help film companies finance inspirational projects. I believe Cornell's Economics program will help cultivate my entrepreneurial spirit.
Behavioral Economics as a field and class intrigues me. While perusing the "Memorable Courses" webpage, I was fascinated by a blurb written about how the class taught the student to consider human decision-making in new ways. As a filmmaker, choreographer, and journalist, I am constantly looking at what influences people's decisions in order to portray characters and their journeys vividly. I look forward to also exploring decision-making in a quantitative manner. The education Cornell would provide me is unique because of the different contexts through which I can study economics. Not only would I gain a broad understanding in CAS by taking foundational courses, but I would also be able to explore cross-listed courses between CAS and ILR such as Labor Market Analysis, where I would benefit from hearing the perspectives of ILR students.
I recognize that to become a film distributor it is important to learn about the medium itself. I was excited to find that film courses at CAS are interdisciplinary, overlapping with departments ranging from American Studies in the class "Americans Abroad," to Computer Science in "Computing in the Arts." These classes would enable me to study the influence and creation of films through multiple lenses, enhancing my creativity and adaptability.
Film is exciting to me because, like dance, it is a space where I can experiment comfortably and take creative and intellectual risks such as blending genres. This past summer, I incorporated a light tone into a dramatic film I wrote and directed that explores a teenage girl's body image issues. My portrayal of the protagonist's transition from a quirky, happy-go-lucky student to an insecure self-harmer ended up being much more powerful than a flat depiction of her would have been. This experience reinforced the significance of fusing together different styles, such as comedy and tragedy.
I am also passionate about classical languages and civilization because these areas of study help me make interesting connections to present literature and current events; they provide wisdom on how to approach the future. While reading the play A Streetcar Named Desire in English this fall, I was one of few students who understood that the street called Elysian Fields was an allusion to a section of the underworld in Greek mythology. My seven years studying Latin allowed me to gain a more stimulating reading of the play. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of CAS courses, I know I will be able to apply what I learn in my classics studies to film and economic theories. Pursuing the broad and personalized course load that Cornell encourages would serve me well as my passions and career goals require many different skill sets and types of knowledge.
June, a 2014 graduate of the Nightingale-Bamford School, is currently a freshman at Cornell.