Abraham Araya

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
College: Arts & Sciences
Major: Biology and Society
Year: 2019

I work at the Cornell Fitness Centers (CFC) as a fitness monitor. My work on paper is to enforce site polices, settle disputes in our locations, and provide information and assistance to our members. However, in my two years with CFC, it has felt more like community building with my coworkers and everyone I meet and talk to during a shift. The microcosm of the Cornell and greater Ithaca community, that I have had the pleasure of getting to know, is something I truly appreciate with this job.

I am honestly still not exactly sure why they decided to hire a person in only their second week of college, with six weeks of total work experience, and who interviewed right after a workout in a sweaty tank top and running shorts, but I'm thankful to say the least. I threw myself into the Black community when I came here as I started to embrace my Blackness knowing I would need a strong support system at a school like this. CFC created another community for me, but rather it did it in 2 hour shifts where you make friends with people of such a wide array of backgrounds and aspirations.

As someone who enjoys working out and fitness generally, it has been great having a job that allows me to help others in the various stages of their fitness journeys. Someone who is just starting to transition to a healthier lifestyle can be exercising next to a calorie counting body builder nearby a couple friends motivating each other to stay on the treadmill just one minute longer. Whether I am talking about my own rollercoaster ride to my current healthy lifestyle and the day-by day approach I take now, or helping the body builder with their form or helping the friends with their motivation to run longer, CFC has provided me opportunities to do something I love. I don't know what my Cornell experience so far would be without CFC, and I don't want to know.