Elizabeth Barrett ’24 Reflects On Her Nolan School Experience

By: Staff
Pink trees in bloom with Cornell clock tower in the background.

Elizabeth Barrett ’24

Major: Hotel Administration, Program: Nolan School of Hotel Administration, Minor: Real Estate, Concentration: Finance, Accounting, and Real Estate

Headshot of Elizabeth Barrett.
Elizabeth Barrett ’24

What will you always remember about your time at Cornell?

I will always remember how Cornell made me feel like I was capable of achieving anything. Coming from a very small town and an even smaller high school, I had so much imposter syndrome arriving at an Ivy League school. Yet, my peers, my Professors, and everyone I met along the way showed me the inherent value I brought to Cornell’s campus, empowering me to effect meaningful change in my community and make a real difference in the lives of others.

Why is it so memorable?

This feeling of endless opportunity was so memorable because it had a lasting impact on my self-worth. College is a whirlwind of four years, and Cornell provides an opportunity to interact with hundreds of amazing individuals every day. However, it is not the words exchanged that you will cherish the most; it is how they make you feel. I remember feeling accepted when friends invited me to dinner freshman year, feeling happiness when I had the chance to pass out candy to studious library goers, and feeling empowered when my peers trusted me to take on leadership roles like President of the Hotel Society’s Collegiate Chapter, or representing them on the Cornell Student Assembly. These feelings have forever changed how I approach personal risks and investing in myself, an unparalleled advantage gained from my Cornell education.

Doing the greatest good is a big part of being a Cornellian. How will you carry this into your career and life after Cornell?

I have been fortunate to have spent these past four years studying hospitality at the premier Nolan School of Hotel Administration. Throughout this journey, I have learned how much we can commit to the greatest good by providing service to others. Your early 20s can be a daunting time for everyone, marked by transitions, self-doubt, and simply finding your place in life beyond the structure of college. To me, hospitality is all about making others feel at home whenever and wherever you can. Cornell has brought me so many amazing friends from all over the world, and I have loved having the opportunity to host them for dinner parties on campus or at my family’s home for the holidays. As I prepare to embark on my next chapter, I carry with me these cherished Hotelie and #Cornellian traditions of doing the greatest good through fostering a sense of belonging and community for everyone.

What is the most valuable thing you learned in your time at Cornell? 

The most valuable lesson I have learned throughout my time at Cornell is the importance of empathy towards others. Cornell is a world-renowned institution with amazing educational opportunities, but alongside these opportunities, there is a backdrop of stress and insecurities. Our campus went through a lot of changes throughout my four years, and while it is easy to quickly place blame when someone lets you down academically or personally, we must recognize how these changes can impact everyone differently. Cornell has taught me how to see things from another’s point of view in the face of disappointment, placing patience and understanding toward others above my own academic achievement.

How will you use this lesson or knowledge in the future?

As I transition to the fast-paced life of working on Wall Street after graduation, I am confident I will continue to lead with empathy. I am mindful to remember my Hotelie roots and not let the high-pressure environment of any workplace stifle my awareness of how my actions may impact others. There is a lot we cannot control in life, but how we make others feel is certainly within our own influence.

What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

I am most looking forward to the uncertainty of new experiences post-graduation. Through the power of the strong Cornell network I have felt these past four years, moving to a new city has become more exciting than intimidating. They say college is the “best four years of your life,” but when you obtain an education that opens as many doors as the Nolan Hotel School’s, I know my best has yet to come. I’m so grateful for the Hotelie family I’ve found here, and I cannot wait to see what’s next for us!