There are Winners, and there are Fighters

I tried to find a quote to add to this opener about winning and losing, or the long tough road of a sport, or something of the like, unfortunately I came up short. Even now, it is difficult to pen words that describe the emotions of losing a long desired goal…something that I’ve experienced before on multiple occasions. If you haven’t guessed by now, the Cornell Women’s Polo team lost out on the national title this past Saturday, in what was a hard fought, emotional battle until the end. We led the entire match by between 1-4 points until the last 30 seconds, when some calls were made against Cornell that allowed UVa to tie the match up on penalty shots. With a tied score, and no time left in regulation play we had to move onto a shoot out against the Cavaliers. A shoot out in polo involves taking unguarded penalty shots from the 25 yard line until one team scores more points during a round than the other. In more detail: each of the 3 players on each team has the opportunity to take a shot, if in one of the rounds a team makes more shots than the other, they are the winners of the match. Unfortunately all three of our players missed their attempts, and the final UVa player made her penalty shot (making the overtime score (0-1). UVa was crowned the US Polo Association National Intercollegiate Champions by 1 point.

Photo Credit: Leslie Hiner


I think the most difficult thing about this loss is that it was right there, and the title was ours for the taking. Our team battled through tough chukkers, tough opponents, and were seconds from claiming our title, only to have it slip away from us really by no fault of our own. My long time teammate, Kailey, was playing with a stomach bug that didn’t help her out, yet she still managed to overcome that set back and play a great match. We controlled the entirety of the game, made fabulous plays, and showed the polo world that Cornell was the team to beat. In the end though, we may have been the best team in the country, unfortunately we just weren’t on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Leslie Hiner


Obviously my goal was for us to win our national title, to walk away from Texas with one more accolade to throw up on my shelf at home, and finish out my senior year in stride. Life, however, generally has funny plans for us, and in the midst of the teary huddle with my teammates after the match, I was torn from consoling them to watching the victorious riot from the UVa clan. In watching their joy, and looking back at the exhausted sadness that overtook my teammates, I knew that my team would be able bounce back from this, that I would bounce back from this. Whatever power that exists, guides us to an outcome that we will be able to work through, and only those that will be able to learn, work, and succeed in the face of adversity are those that experience it; I firmly believe that. Us Cornellians, we’re fighters- we hold our heads up high, we take life as it comes at us, and we fight onward to bigger and better things…and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

So here’s to us, the 2013 National Intercollegiate Runners Up, the fighters.

Photo Credit: Leslie Hiner


Nope, that’s not a typo! This section of my blog is going to take a look into the most exciting time of [my] year…the US Polo Association Intercollegiate Tournament season. Hence the abbreviation- Polo Blog- Polog…its a reach, I know.

The Polo teams’ tournament season is a busy busy time, we have matches leading up to the tournaments and then the Regional Championships [held at Cornell between UConn, Skidmore, and which ever team wins the pre-regional that year], and finally we culminate with the USPA Intercollegiate National Championships. For the last two years, we have been lucky enough to host the National Championships at our own Oxley Equestrian Center in Ithaca [taking the title in 2011, and coming within 3 in 2012]. This year, however, after both the men’s and women’s teams success in the Northeast Regional Finals, we will be traveling down to Brookshire, TX to take on the best in the country. We leave on Monday for Texas and will be there through Sunday! I will make sure I update the blog throughout that time to update my loyal following on my final run as a collegiate polo player and varsity athlete at Cornell!


As I said before, our Regional finals were a great success! Both the men’s and women’s teams won their brackets and advanced to the Northeastern Regional Championships, and went on to win the title! This is my 4th team win in as many years, and the Men have won 3 times in the last 4. On our team, my teammates Devin and Kailey joined me, and a player from UConn as the Women’s all-stars for the Northeast, and three of the Cornell men picked up the honor as well. Both our men’s ponies and women’s ponies won the best playing string (group of horses), and Pico (left) and Bebe (right) won best playing pony honors for the Men’s and Women’s side respectively. Finally our women’s alternate, Beth LeBow ’14, was awarded the women’s sportsmanship award. All of the aforementioned awards were voted on by the players, coaches, and officials at the tournament. We were so grateful and excited to have received all of these honors, and were able to pose with our hardware after the match! Take a look!

The 5 People you’ll find at Trillium

After working out yesterday morning, then going to two hours of class, I was understandably starving come 1:30 PM. To curb off the the hunger pangs, and waste time before my next class, I headed to Trillium to watch some back episodes of the Office, and eat some delicious soup! While I was in there, I happened to start looking around and people watching, which is when I noticed the wide variety of people that go to Trillium on an average day. I obviously had to write about it…


1. The Lunchers: Also known as the socialites. Here’s the thing about Trillium, ITS A DINING FACILITY! So obviously most people go there to get food. The typical lunch period will last for 30 mins tops. The lunchers however are a different breed of people; they take their dining experience seriously. They are the individuals who find each other, sit  for 2 hours, and pretend to have nothing better to do than hang out at that table, for an entire afternoon. Generally they do not disturb anyone, they’re just out for a good time. Beware though, the lunchers like their specific spaces…they tend to grab the same tables, at the same time, on the same days.

Where they’re located: The lower floor of Trillium, always in the middle of the floor at one of the tables that seats ~15 people.

What you can expect from them: Loud conversations, loud laughter, similar clothes, occupation of prime seating areas during prime eating time.

2. The Studiers: The brave, if not slightly delusional souls who believe they will get a solid study session hashed out in the middle of the Trillium madness. You will see them holed up with their books strewn about, headphone stuffed as far as possible into their ears, and a somewhat frazzled look on their face. Chances are they haven’t eaten in two days as it is, and are hoping that they can consume calories through osmosis while studying for their Orgo prelim. At this point they’ve tried every possible study area and are on their last leg. Give them a break, chances are they’ll cry if you look at them the wrong way.

Where they’re located: Anywhere their power cord can reach an outlet…or against the back wall, in the back corner of the bottom floor of the seating area.

What you can expect from them: Dirty looks if you sit too close to them at their table…forgive anything they say- they’re hungry and stressed.

3. The Athletes: Trillium is the closest dining hall for the Athletes to go to after/before practice, as it is the closest and only dining place by the athletics compound. Like the lunchers, they tend to spend a large amount of time in Trillium, and tend to have their ritualized tables. Sometimes you’ll see the male athletes mixing with the female athletes, but often times its teams banding together, unwinding after morning practice. The Athletes will likely be wearing their Teagles (standardized work-out clothes), and look like the grey-clad children of a Russian commune. The guys also consume HUGE amounts of food…but its okay because they work out enough that they need to. The athletes are good friends with the Trillium staff because of their early occupation hours, and the amount of time the spend there in general.

Where they’re located: Like the lunchers, they like large tables, in the middle of the room on the bottom floor.

What you can expect from them: A nice mix between rambunction and a functional work ethic!

4. The Tablers

Oh the tablers, the men and women who come to Trillium for a just cause….or to make you believe they have a just cause. Tabling is a prominent practice at Cornell to advertise for events being put on by organizations all over campus. Tabling is also awkward because you essentially sit in the same spot for 2 hours, stare into peoples’ souls and guilt them into buying a ticket/shirt/candy or whatever your organization is pawning off that day. Trillium is a great place to table because of the mass amount of people who migrate through every day. The tablers, however, tend to overstep their tabling duties when they get UP from their table and roam around the dining area, quartercarding (handing out tiny slips of paper explaining the event…another Cornell practice). As, at one point, a former tabler, I can say that this is an awkward experience and that these individuals are likely not tabling because they like it, they most likely HAVE to do it as part of some requirement/act of commitment.

Where they’re located: Right in front of the door as you walk into the lower level of Trillium….sometimes they migrate if they’re desperate.

What to expect: Awkward selling-points, slide shows, tri-folds, bright colors. Environmentally deadly quartercards, and hopeful glances as you walk through the door and make a bee-line to the salad line.

5. The Pit Stoppers

Finally, we get to the pit-stoppers. The individuals who may frequent Trillium, but do so for the soul purpose of grabbing lunch before their Marketing lecture in Call Auditorium. The Pit-Stoppers understand that Trillium fills the void between a sit down meal, and fast food…generally allowing the pitstopper to stop for 10 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on the occasion.

Where they’re located: The Pit-stoppers fill in the areas where the others don’t situate themselves; generally the windows on the bottom floor, and the tables on the top level. They want a seat where they can make a quick getaway when they realize they’re late to lecture, or need to go to Mann and print a problem set out.

What to expect: Not too much…likely catching up with the articles in the Cornell Daily Sun, or stalking Facebook to pass the time. They’re transients, and peacefully coexist in the Trillium social system.


Sitting in my Communication Law class this morning, my wonderful professor brought up a gem of a piece of Cornell history that I had to post about: Cornell Professor freaks out over Yawn. Personally, I found the whole situation hilarious, but that won’t be the subject of this long overdue post. The whole discussion about this event, the attention it brought to Cornell, and hilarious significance it brought to my sophomore Fall semester, made me want to write a post about those ‘historical’ moments that have made an impact at this school.

In no particular order here they are:

1. NYC Tech Campus

NYC Tech Campus Rendering










Winning the rights to Roosevelt Island was a HUGE jump for Cornell, especially when competing against some of the most elite research institutions around the country. This Cornell appendage is going to help grow the name of the university, and allow it to be involved in some of the most progressive research and academics in the world. It will also likely bring even more Cornellians to NYC (not that there is a lack of Cornell alums in NYC), and expand the capacity for grads to connect outside of Ithaca.

2. Fences

Fences circa 2010












Almost everyone knows the story, a string of public suicides sent our campus into a tailspin. The tragedies were covered by the national news, students were put on high alert, and for the first time since I had been here, people were scared. In response to national outcry the University brought in 24 hour security to place on all of the bridges around campus, and set a plan in motion that is just now getting finished. The thought was: because we believe suicide is impulsive, how can we block impulsive decisions- Fences. We left for spring break with security guards and came back to 10ft fences on all of the bridges with barb-wire on top. It serves as a constant reminder of those darker days, and a reminder to keep watch over the ones that are closest to you, and even those that aren’t. Currently the fences are being phased out in favor of nets…progress on this project can be seen around campus.

3. Sweet 16

Cornell Men’s Basketball makes the Sweet 16









What a time it was to be a Cornellian. Never has our big red blood flowed stronger than when these guys made the NCAA Sweet 16. This was the shot of life that our campus needed after a rough spring semester; they were our symbol of resilience. For the first time our school banded together and acted like a state school…running from city to city watching this team sweep victories over improbable opponents. They had the swagger of underdogs, and these amazing guys have never lost it. Though the youngest members of that team are mere months from graduation, they keep the spark alive in their younger teammates, and keep the Cornell spirits knowing that eventually, we’ll get back there again.

4. Miss America

Joanna Guy is Miss. Maryland. Miss America













As Jo’s sorority sister, and a native Marylander, I feel n0 shame in including this in my post (this is my blog after all). Many of you may read this and wonder why it was significant…well, just think about it, how many people from Cornell have ever competed in the Miss. America pageant? Yeah, I bet you can’t think of many. It was special, it was amazing, and Joanna proved to be an amazing role model to women all over the country for her poise, intelligence, and graciousness. Despite some negative press at the beginning of her reign as Miss Maryland, the Cornell student body and Ithaca community really came together to support her during her run to become Miss America. The day after the pageant, I hear people all over campus talking about how she’d been robbed, how amazing she looked, and how that weird tap-dancer from Idaho needed a new hobby. In summary: everyone was proud, and everyone was rooting Jo on to her final stop in the top 10. (Secretly everyone thought it was super cool from day 1…I’m still trying to get her to let me wear her crown)

From one Hill to the Other

It isn’t often (ever) that I mention the other place of higher education that shares the wonderful city of Ithaca with us Cornellians, but this post is dedicated to the school with the town’s name: Ithaca College. More specifically the premiere men’s a cappella group on their campus, Ithacappella. Giving credit where credit is due, the students at IC are incredibly gifted in the talent/artistry department (not that we aren’t…but we aren’t), but most of the focus of IC is on the arts programs. While I was perusing Youtube in procrastination tonight, I came across this video of Ithacappella and what I am assuming is one of the local public schools in the area, PS22’s choir, collaborating on my favorite song: Swedish House Mafia’s Don’t You Worry Child. The normal version gives me chills, and I could (and have) listened to it on loop for hours…this version sends me into a catatonic state combining three of my most favorite things: children singing, men’s a cappella, and SHM. Take a look:


Ali’s Recruitment Survival Guide- Ch. 1

Hello loyal followers! I hope this pleasant day finds you doing well. As you may have realized from the title of my post, my favorite time of year is here…Not christmas, not New Years, not Slope Day (though that is a close 2nd), ITS FORMAL RECRUITMENT SEASON! I could write for days about my love for sorority recruitment, but I find that that rant is generally useless to almost everyone around me. Instead, this year, I am channeling my love of recruitment and all things sorority into segments that I call: Ali’s Recruitment Survival guide! Hopefully this will come in handy to any Potential New Members going into spring 2013 recruitment, or someone that stumbles upon this master piece in the future!

Segment 1: What is Recruitment?

I remember sitting at summer camp 6 years ago, listening to my counselors who went to school at the University of Georgia, discussing ‘Rush’. What is Rush? asked a 15 year old Ali. To be honest their answer confused me, and I remember thinking that it sounded stupid and that I’d never take part in it.


Well, the joke was on me. Here I am 6 years later, finishing up my term as chapter President, and whole heartedly devoting myself to ‘Rush’. I put rush it quotes because it is now officially called ‘Recruitment’ by the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC-all the Sororities’ governing bodies).


Recruitment is the period of time when eligible Potential New Members (PNMs) and eligible NPC Chapters on Campus conduct parties to meet, and get to know each other. Through a mutual selection process, PNMs and Houses continue to match with each other until the house has their top X-number of PNMs. The biggest portion of that definition to take notice of is the mutual selection process. It is incredibly important to understand that that is a real, true thing. You have to understand, going into recruitment, that there is a house for everybody, and to find that out, proper patience and respect need to be paid!

My biggest piece of advice for Chapter 1: Don’t go in with set expectations. Keep an open mind, try and get to know the sorority sisters that you meet at each house, and have fun!

At Cornell, recruitment is held in at the beginning of the Spring semester. Yes, that means that it is during the winter. It is held over a period of 5 days following this schedule:

Day 1- Open House (6 houses)

*you will have a turn at all 12 houses during this round*

Day 2- Open House (6 Houses)

——-Cut 3 houses—-

Day 3- House Tours (Maximum of 9 houses)

—-cut 4 houses——

Day 4- Philanthropy/Skit Round (Maximum of 5 houses)

—-Cut 2 houses—–

Day 5- Preference round (maximum of 3 houses)

—-cut 2 houses—-

Day 6- BID NIGHT!! (maximum of 1 house)


Yes, it seems like a lot of work, but trust me ladies….it is worth it!

I will be back soon with Ch 2- What to Wear!

Classes Classes Classes

I had the busiest semester I’ve ever had, this past semester. This was followed by the busiest finals week I’ve ever had as well. So it should be of no surprise to anyone that I ended up looking something like this by the end of it:

Well, the amount of coffee cups in the frame is about right, anyway. Here’s what I had going on this past semester:

– 17 credits: Environmental Governance (NTRES/GOV), International Monetary Theory and Policy (ECON), Population Dynamics(DSOC), Risk Communication (COMM), Sustainable Agriculture (IARD)

– 2 large leadership roles (President of my sorority, and President of the Cornell Polo Team)

– 1 C0-Captaincy

– 1 attempt to find employment after I graduate (fingers still crossed)

– 1 strategic planning session (weeks) to figure out my life at Cornell for the rest of my time here

– Too many polo matches to count

– Too many away polo matches to keep track of

– Active involvement in one of the newest organizations on campus to promote sexual violence awareness and advocacy around Cornell

– Battling (i.e. discussing diplomatically) the need for better lighting around the sorority houses on North Campus with the Mayor of Ithaca and the Ithaca City Council members

Yes, looking at it, I sometimes surprise myself with how much I decide I need to take on. This was a particularly bad load, even I will admit that. Yet, as Steve Carrell will say in The Office “Somehow I Manage”. So when it came time for this finals week, I didn’t realize that trying to tie up all of those loose ends, on top of trying to finish up my classes and study for exams, AND finding a job, would lead to a very stressful and ill-planned study week.

Word to the Wise potential freshman- DO NOT TAKE STUDY WEEK FOR GRANTED. Use it to lightly study or at least organize yourself to buckle down during actual finals week, or else you may be as exhausted and overworked as I was by last friday. Also, try to avoid having out-of-town interviews during finals, you just don’t look good during finals week, no matter how far away you are from Cornell.

SO, whats up for me next semester? My FINAL semester at Cornell?

1. Intro Development Sociology (to finish out my general DSOC minor)

2. International Trade and Finance (I really don’t know why I keep throwing myself into Econ classes when I know I’m awful at them)

3. IARD senior Capstone course (I get to talk about Wine Tasting/Working in South Africa last winter break)

4. Communication Law

5. Ethics in Animal Science

6. I think I have to take something else, but I can’t remember off the top of my head.


There are still so many courses that I want to take, but so little time to take them in. Take advantage of the opportunities you are given while at Cornell, and don’t end up like me, whining that you couldn’t take Astronomy during senior year. PLAN!

Over and out!

Life is moving!

Hello all,

As I signed on today, I forgot my password…not once, but 3 times. Now, I don’t have that many passwords to begin with so thats a sad moment in my book. This is also a sign that I have neglected my blogging duties terribly over the last 2 months, for which I am eternally remorseful. Moving on:

1. I will do a series of updates over the next week to fast track everyone towards what has been going on at Cornell and in my Life on the Hill.

2. The first one will be now:

I had my first ever job interview last weekend! It was an incredible experience, and no matter what happens, I know that I will be able to learn from it professionally! Fingers crossed for a good outcome 🙂

3. The fall polo season ended well, with our team coming out as the Undefeated national leaders! We have won two matches against UVa, two against University of Kentucky, and two against University of Connecticut! We are so incredibly excited, and I can’t say enough about the tenacity and hard work my teammates have displayed during this entire semester; Here’s to a successful spring season! Below is a picture from a photoshoot that happened the last week of school. The article that accompanies it is on The Cornell Daily Sun website (to save face, I’m not linking to it directly, but its definitely a laugh).

4. I FINALLY finished Finals. YAY! I had 3 finals, 3 papers, and the job interview in Chicago all in 10 days. Needless to say my finals week was incredibly hectic and I was glad to get home and sit on my couch.

5. Next semester will be my last semester….WHAT? Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in. I know I need one.


That’s all for now. I will make sure to get on in the next week to talk about my classes for next semester, my career prospects, and my FAVORITE subject: Panhellenic Formal Recruitment! Over and Out


I was strolling (read- walking VERY fast because it was freezing and I didn’t dress properly) across the ag quad today. I found my mind wandering and thinking about how many things I have to cram into the next 10 days before Thanksgiving break comes, I started to get panicky, and then decided I needed to stop worrying about it. That was an unexpected answer, right? I feel like I’ve been doing this whole college thing for a long time (…no comment), and I think what I realized today was that I FINALLY understand what college is about. Its about learning and growing. Its about taking chances, falling flat on your face a few times, and then finding a way to bounce back and get back into the swing of things. I realized today that as much as I complain about the 3 papers I have due in one day on Monday, its not going to get them done, its also not going to have much of an effect on the rest of the people in my life either. **Big secret: everyone at Cornell ALWAYS has a ton of work, don’t complain about it, just do it and then commiserate afterwards** Sorry, digression. Its not that I don’t care about my academics, I do, in fact the day I learned I had finally made Dean’s List was probably one of my proudest days….ever, and thats saying something. I realized today that I only have 6 months of college left, and that in 6 months I will be finished with finals, getting ready to start a job (fingers crossed), and start a new chapter in my life. I realized today that Cornell is almost done, that this blog will get stuck into the archives of the Cornell website and that life on the hill will continue to function without me…WHAT?  To say that freaked me out a bit, is an understatement, and frankly it made me nostalgic. Its taken me 4+ years, but I finally feel as if I’ve found my niche here, that I’ve found the people I love to spend time with, the people I admire, the work I like to do, and the places I like to be. I have finally figured out how to navigate this crazy place, utilize my time well, and make an impact in the right areas, and you’re telling me I only have 6 months left to do so? Its just crazy how the time here gets away from you.


I won’t go on a nostalgia binge quite yet, but for all of you freshman, and pre-frosh reading this blog (shout out to Megan and Amanda if you still read this thing…you totally do) ITS OKAY if you don’t figure Cornell out at first, but give it a chance. Yes, its cold. Yes, its challenging. Yes, its in the middle of nowhere. This is coming from a girl who likes her niceties…shopping, skiing, travelling, etc. This place can change you, and build you into a better person, and it can inspire you to reach for things that you never thought would be possible. If you have the same opportunity that I had, take it, and don’t take 4+ years to appreciate it.


Panorama of Arts Quad at 9 AM from 7th floor – Olin Libe

Well, October came and went…

Hello! My apologies for the approximately 0 posts  I made in the month of October. To be honest, nothing too out of the ordinary happened to me in those 31 days anyway, so I’m hoping November will be up past my normal standard.

I want to start my post off by offering my best wishes to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Although every student in Ithaca was disappointed that we didn’t receive anything different than our normal fall weather, we were quickly jutted back to reality upon our realization of the devastating toll that this storm had on our friends to the east. Again, best wishes and good luck to all of you as we work forward from this point.

Here’s the deal from the last 30 days:

1. Polo is off to a fabulous undefeated start of the season! I am so happy to be able to come back to saying this after last year’s impressive but difficult season. We played UMass right after fall break and showed off our usual flash, went down to University of Virginia and played a wild game in their giant outdoor arena to an impressive win (14-13) after a 3 round shoot out, saw a clean and safe game against a young University of Kentucky squad, and finished a clean sweep of the north east region with wins over UConn and Skidmore this past weekend!


2. Fall Break! I went home, nothing exciting. Orioles ALMOST made it to the actual pennant race, but sadly that dream of a dream baseball team was decimated by the Yankees.

3. I applied to my first job AND had my first phone interview for said job. I don’t like divulging details of things like this, but I can tell you that I think it went almost as well as it could have, and that I am proud of my effort, professional demeanor and ability to think critically during the Q&A. I also completely forgot to have a question for them at the end and managed to think of something right off the top of my head, so hopefully I didn’t sound like too much of an idiot. Thank you Oral Comm for giving me the ability to breathe, think, and answer.

4. We had elections for my sorority! I will remain President through January’s Formal Recruitment, but then I am home free for the rest of my year!

5. Course enroll happened, and I honestly forgot about it until about 10 AM that day. It was far less exciting than normal and I got into all of the classes I wanted in one fell swoop. I will make my next post about the classes I plan on taking, and what is going on in that regard.

6. Elections are tomorrow! WOW. I’m far too overwhelmed by all of the arguments and political jargon that is being thrown around right now. I will offer my perspective after I see the results, but for now I do believe that it is going to be an intense race. I will also be happy to get back on facebook and my social media accounts when this is all over and not see Romney and Obama ALL over the place.

7. I will give  a more substantial update ASAP, but I have a paper to research and write before Wednesday… Procrastination? I’m a pro at it.

Over and Out!

What happens in Collegetown, stays in Collegetown

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