Student Spotlight: Garrett @ Cornell University


Meet Garrett Heller, a sophomore Human Development major at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Garrett is originally from Long Island, NY and attended Syosset High School.

What’s on your playlist?

I absolutely cannot listen to music when I study, so I haven’t made a playlist. Definitely looking to make one just for the long walks to class though!

What’s a book that inspired you?

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick.

Morning person or night owl?

Night Owl.

Favorite way to take study break?

Talking to a home friend on the phone.

Favorite late night snack?

Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

Favorite app/gadget/tools?


I really love my…


Favorite travel destination?

Disney World.

Would you have done anything differently in high school? If so, what?

There are very few things I would change about my high school experience. I think I would have asked for help more often. There were so many resources available to me (extra help sessions, tutors, and even just asking for help from my parents), but I was always set on doing things on my own, and I, on several occasions, would have benefitted from asking for help.

What one piece of advice would you give high school students, or yourself in high school?

Do NOT underestimate the importance of being well-rounded. SAT scores and GPAs do have quite a bit of weight, but they only show one dimension of who you are, and colleges know that. Get involved so that you can show colleges that they are accepting somebody with strong character and the potential to use your education to make an impact, not somebody who did little more than slave over standardized tests. Perhaps most importantly, getting involved in activities and in the community will teach you invaluable lessons, lead you to the greatest people, and possibly lead you to your greatest passion.

Top 5 things you won’t read in the brochure about Cornell University:
  1. After sorority/fraternity rush, Greek Life is all you will hear about for weeks to come.

  2. While there’s quite a workout that comes with walking to class on Cornell’s campus full of hills, the food can still easily win and make the Freshman 15+ a strong possibility.

  3. The brochures do not lie when they talk about Ithaca’s beauty. There really are some stunning sights, but it can be pretty gray out a lot of the time. People who are seasonal affective may want to think twice!

  4. The brochures may tell you that a huge proportion of the Cornell population consists of students who were in the top of their high school class. They probably don’t mention how annoying it is that some people will NOT let you forget it.

  5. If Cornell’s your favorite school and you’re looking for an entirely fresh start where you can leave everyone from home and high school behind, don’t be from Long Island. (Having a bunch of familiar faces was honestly no bother at all for me, but I know different people have a different take on this).

Cornell University

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