Tireniolu Onabajo: ‘I am proud of learning who I am, what I am grateful for, what I believe in and the difference I want to make in the world’

Tireniolu Onabajo

Government & Sociology

Lagos, Nigeria

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

Critical thinking and adaptability. I was a biological sciences major until I switched to sociology in the first semester of my junior year and then added on a government major and Africana studies minor later that year. All of those fields demanded widely different skills/strategies. Learning to succeed in each of them was sometimes difficult, but definitely worth it. Each one has really informed the analytical perspective from which I view the world today.

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

I was the president of the largest African organization on campus (Coalition of Pan African Scholars or COAS), the president of Art Beyond Cornell (ABC), the organization that put on the first annual "Criminal Justice Awareness Days," and the chair of the University Assembly's (UA) Campus Welfare Committee. Each of those pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to be a leader in ways I did not necessarily think I could be. COAS was my outlet for my passion about Black issues, ABC for social justice, and UA for gaining experience as a part of a political body.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

I am proud of learning who I am, what I am grateful for, what I believe in and the difference I want to make in the world. I'm proud of learning to look at present realities as historically constructed, malleable and influenceable rather than inevitable or necessarily correct.

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		 Tireniolu Onabajo