Finding and Creating Forever Friendships

Melissa Gao ‘21

When I first came to Cornell,  I had trouble making friends. I was living in a small hallway of singles in a quiet dorm, and my classes were all overwhelmingly large introductory lectures in big auditoriums. I knew I wanted to audition for the Chorus because I had been a choir kid my whole life, and I was so excited to have been accepted and to be able to continue doing and getting better at what I loved. However, as my previous choirs had only focused on music, I didn’t join this one expecting much socially.

But chorus soon gave me much more than just the gift of music — it gave me the gift of friendship. As I got to know all of my fellow ZOZIs and the amazing upperclassmen, I met and became close with the people I now call my best friends. I felt immediately included in this friendly, accepting, and fun community full of diverse individuals whom I looked up to both musically and academically. It was the first time I ever felt like I truly belonged on campus, and I was incredibly happy. Every rehearsal I sat next to someone new and interesting, and I was grateful to be surrounded by so many people that I admired.

Having made my closest friends from the Chorus, I knew I wanted to give back and create events that would help others have the same experiences as me. I applied for and became social chair last spring, and have been loving it ever since. Though it is incredibly fun to create fun for everyone, I would be lying if I said the job didn’t have its ups and downs. It can be tough to satisfy everyone’s needs, entertain over 100 opinions, and be the main planner and organizer for social events at least once a week. Something will always go differently than planned, and less than ideal situations sometimes pop up. However, being social chair has always been worth it. Not only have I grown personally and professionally, but I’ve also had the opportunity to get to know almost every member of the Glorus (Chorus + Glee Club) at all the social events, and even create my own.

Perhaps the greatest reward is the privilege to see friendships budding right before my eyes and the reactions to fun events showcased on fellow members’ faces. Looking around a room full of smiling, laughing people and knowing I helped create that happiness brings one of the warmest and most rewarding feelings I have ever felt to my heart. The joy of successfully putting on an event and creating long-lasting memories for my fellow members is why I continue to love my position, and why I will miss it so much when I leave it this April.

I am eternally thankful for the Chorus because it’s given me a warm, loving community, as well as the people I now consider to be my closest friends. I can proudly say that Glorus really is my main social circle, and no matter what mood I’m in, I always feel better when I go to rehearsal and am surrounded by so many familiar and friendly faces. Chorus/Glorus is my family at Cornell, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s large, fun and quirky, and whenever we’re together, we all can’t help but have a good time — and I’ve been able to contribute to that happiness and cohesiveness by being social chair.

Chorus is not just a two-credit class you go to two times a week. Chorus is not just a club choir that you sing in. It is much more than that. It is a family and community of passionate, like-minded individuals from a plethora of majors and backgrounds who recognize the importance of singing. It is a caring group of individuals who will support you both personally and professionally, not only in your time at Cornell, but forever.