Tomorrow I leave for California for a British Parliamentary Debate tournament that will last the weekend, which means I’ll be back mid-day Monday. This should be interesting since I have never participated in any sort of debate tournament in my life and have only watched British Parliament meetings on c-span once or twice. My birthday’s this weekend as is the final four, which I’ll probably miss, so I don’t know how excited I am about this. It’s quite an experience, but it’s nerve-racking since I have absolutely no clue what to expect. I’ll also be missing a pre-lim while I’m away so the professor who’s coming along is going to administer it to me in the hotel room, which makes me feel like one of the Wisconsin basketball players shown on ESPN taking a test in the hotel’s conference room after a film session and before a practice during the March Madness tourney.
On the bright side, Georgetown did come back to win against UNC…maybe that’s a good omen for me.
I write this as Georgetown is losing to UNC at half time, which is troubling since I have G-Town in the finals. Maybe this is an omen for the bad week ahead. You’d think professors would be nice the week after spring break, but no I have two problem sets due, one tomorrow and one on Wednesday (both of which I had to do over break), a quiz on Thursday, and a pre-lim on Friday. To make that even worse I’ll be leaving on Thursday for California where there is a Parliamentary Debate tournament. I honestly don’t know how I got myself into that, but nonetheless I’ll be taking the quiz on the plane ride to California and then the pre-lim when we get to the hotel.
I can’t complain about spring break though. I worked 55 hours and made some nice money. I read a book after I finished the problem sets, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I don’t think I’ve ever thought so much about a novel after finishing it as I did with this one. I hadn’t read any of McCarthy’s books before but now I know why he is considered the best living American author. The mistake I made last night was watching the Last King of Scotland after finishing the book. That combination made for one depressing night…once again, maybe an omen for the things to come. Then again doesn’t the Monday after break always suck?
Tomorrow, Friday, March 16th is Dragon Day (as well as my sister’s b-day) which means that it is also the last day of classes before spring break commences. Almost everyone leaves campus except for the few like me who stay. In my case, I’ll be working, which means if you’re coming for a tour this coming week you might just get one from me. Anyhow, Dragon Day is a nice experience and then couple that with March Madness and it’s even better (oh Duke I had you in the Sweet Sixteen). Staying away from college basketball though, Dragon Day is really a day for architects. All upper-class architects dress up in costumes and prance around campus all day. Last year, there was this guy who was Africa. He came up to a student and jumped up and down and yelled, “I’m Africa, I’m a continent!” Meanwhile, the first year architect students show off the dragon they have spent their days and nights of the past couple of months creating and parade it down East Avenue until they reach the Engineering Quad where it battles with the Engineer’s creation in that of a phoenix. The dragon always wins since that’s the tradition and then the first years continue to parade it down to the Arts Quad where it is set on fire to a roar of cheers and the scrutiny of the Ithaca Fire Department… spring break officially begins.
The hockey season ended this past Saturday when Cornell lost to Quinnipiac 3-2 in the ECACHL quarterfinals. Cornell lost the series 2-0, which was a surprise since Cornell had previously only lost 5 playoff games when playing at Lynah Rink. Including this past weekend, the total went to 7. Nonetheless, you could feel the disappointment in the arena when the young and somewhat inexperienced team was swept in two heartbreaking losses (the first loss being 1-0 in OT). I am not one to complain about referees, but, to be quick on words, they were not good… in fact, very disappointing, even depressing. I had the privilege to go to both games despite my past suspension of season hockey tickets. The first game I sat on the townies’ side, which was a great experience as I got to watch the student section and their chants. Now I know why Sports Illustrated ranked us as the toughest place to play last year. It’s a very intimidating atmosphere. Nonetheless, the fans can only do so much.
To end on a bright note, however, the team, as I mentioned, was very young and except for seven seniors, everyone will be returning. Next season should be a gem to watch. The Cornell lacrosse team is currently ranked #1 in the nation ahead of the likes of Johns Hopkins, Duke, Army, Notre Dame, and Syracuse. We are right now, THE best (not to jinx them of course).
This past Tuesday, including the wind chill, it was -17F, without the wind-chill 7degrees. I came to Cornell not worried about Ithaca winters because I liked cold weather and snow. But Tuesday was the first time ever that I walked outside and my eyes immediately began to tear. One time, and this was at 2:30pm so the sun hadn’t even started to set, I took a step outside, took a breath and my chest literally burned for a couple of seconds, like that burning you get in your throat when you’re running on a brisk November morning. The Ithaca school system cancelled school due to the wind chill. I thought that stuff only happened in Minnesota. Just fyi, I’m not complaining, only merely stating a first time life experience that I will remember when I think I’m cold in New Jersey when its 37F.
Hopefully, that didn’t scare everyone away since another important event that happened on Wednesday was the Provost’s address to the University (think State of the Union speech but only about Cornell). I didn’t have the opportunity to go since I was in a meeting nor the opportunity to watch it over the internet since I had two prelims this week, but nonetheless, it is a positive effort in establishing and strengthening the relationship between the University and the student body, a tie President Skorton wanted to focus on during his tenure as President of the University.
The disrespect of New Jersey has been bugging me for a couple weeks now; I just haven’t had time to write about it since it’s the middle of pre-lim week (mid-terms) right now. New Jersey has a reputation for being the armpit of America and smelly and all that other stuff. All this negative publicity gives NJ a bad stigma and a stigma that isn’t very true at all. Of course there are some parts that do smell around the Rt. 3 area of the turnpike and likewise the places near New York City that absorb NYC’s trash, but for the most part NJ is a great place to live, and for me grow up. In fact if you were to go to south Jersey, you’d be surrounded by a bunch of farm land. Nonetheless, I and the 20% of other Cornellians from Jersey (unofficial number) get harassed and made fun of for being from the state. I couldn’t have been quieter during a Cornell hockey game when Cornell was beating Princeton 8-1 and fans began to chant, “Princeton’s in New Jersey”. I turned to a girl behind me who was silent because she too was from Jersey, more specifically the town of Princeton (the same Princeton that the University of Princeton is in) and we both assured each other that Jersey is a nice place and these people are just a bunch of ignorant students from all the “middle of nowhere towns” in New York, Pennsylvania (it’s almost safe to narrow that down and say Philadelphia), Connecticut (Do you like the Yankees or the Red Sox, choose a side!), places in the Midwest like Ohio (let’s make our official nickname a flower) and Illinois( a state ravaged by sports misery and ineptitude), and the West like California (that’s gnarly dude…enough said). To them I say our tourist catchphrase, “Come see for yourself.” (If your state wasn’t mentioned that doesn’t mean there aren’t students from your state here.)
The Princeton in New Jersey chant is tolerable and ignorable. What literally made me hit the roof was watching the last ”going to Hollywood” (the first round auditions) episode of American Idol back in January, which will be the last Idol episode I ever watch. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing. I heard Ryan Seacrest say, “We’re in New York” or something to that but saw Continental Airlines Arena which is in East Rutherford New Jersey and home of the Nets and Devils. Throughout the episode I was told they were in New York but constantly saw Nets and Devils banners and Continental Airlines Arena (both the inside and outside). I still cannot understand why they couldn’t say they were in New Jersey instead of lying to the entire nation. Are Jersey natives Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, and Bon Jovi (just to name a few) not good enough for you. How many platinum artists will it take to make you say you’re in Jersey?
American Idol, you’re dead to me.
On a completely different note, if you would like to get an even deeper look into what students do at Cornell on and off campus a new website just launched called “loudcampus!” that is dedicated to students talking about Cornell “life”. You can find it at www.loudcampus.com.