‘Sapere aude, incipe.’ (translation: Dare to know. Begin!)

May 2, 2019

Vivian (Yijie) Jin

Philosophy & Classics

Hangzhou, China

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

At the end of the Conversational Latin course with Professor Daniel Gallagher, every student, including myself, recited a piece in Latin. It was a spring day and we were sitting on the patio of the Olin library. I remember my classmates were gracefully reciting beautiful passages from Horace's "Odes," Vergil's "Aeneid" and Catullus' poems. I recited one of Seneca's letters, "On the Philosopher’s Task." "I worship them(Socrates and Plato, Zeno, the ancient philosophers) in very truth, and always rise to do honour 'to such noble names.'" I'm very proud to be a part of that dreamy afternoon, along with dazzling sunshine, soft breezes, ancient texts, inspiring peers and my wonderful teacher.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

Make use of Cornell’s fantastic libraries. Go to office hours with professors. Take some time to explore and appreciate the beautiful gorges. Stay warm!

If you had a personal motto, what would it be?

Sapere aude, incipe. (Dare to know. Begin!)

  Vivian Jin