2 years ago, former blogger Tim Liddel approached me and told me that he had found the perfect job for me. A few months later, the lovely Lisa Cameron-Norfleet, Director of Communications at Cornell hired me to what would become the second of my three awesome jobs on campus at Cornell.
I figure that as I moved my younger brother into Dickson Hall, where most of my friends lived their freshman year, it was fitting to write this last post. I had a chance to see things come in full circle. The frustration of parents waiting in line to get to a dorm, the over eagerness of kids helping to move (which had disappeared by the end of their shifts), and the shocked look on so many faces of new students, entirely unsure of what was about to come. You can’t prepare for the next four years, nor should you even try.
I am so jealous. For the first time in four years, I will not be on campus, excited and apprehensive about the year to come. Classes start today, and I am 700 miles away. I can’t believe I want to go to class…
Beginning the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years, I spent much of my time crafting posts, brainstorming blog names, and wondering if anyone other than President Skorton would read it. I have to admit, while I have actually been recognized in the streets, had people from all over the world tell me they’ve read my posts,inspired a few friends to write, and used it to launch two of my own new blogs, I have never had the chance to meet the President. What can I say, I am a busy man…
100 posts, 14 drafts, and a lot of brainstorming later, I have come to close up my time on the hill. I apologize my devoted readers, but it is time to move on. I leave you in the hands of plenty of capable writers; young David who actually taught me a few things, Brendon Doyle, master of the Daily Sun and even some freshman who have been added to our team. If their application is any indication of their true writing abilities, we should have some excellent blogs to look forward to. I have to thank you all for the time you have given me. To the University whom I have loved, and to Lisa, who kept me honest.
My boss called me out (via Twitter of all places) for having never written from the arts quad. What follows is a play-by-play for some of the time I sat on the quad, observing one of the most central parts of Cornell’s campus.
11:38am- I sit down next to the statue of the first president of the University: Andrew White. Why someone would rather be the president of the University, as opposed to its namesake, is completely beyond me.
11:39am- Legend has it when a virgin walks by the Arts quad late at night, the statues of Ezra Cornell and Andrew White walk to the center of the quad and shake hands. When I was a little kid, my father used to tell me that this occurred when a pretty girl walked past the quad. My mother always used to laugh when he said this and it took me 13 years, including my freshman year to imagine why she found this so amusing. Needless to say I did not find it as amusing.
11:42am- It’s been four minutes, and all I can think about are these damn statues. A girl I used to see and I were walking home from Collegetown freshman year, and she mentioned the story to me. I slyly asked if we should be watching the statues cross. She slyly slapped me and told me to mind my own business…I wonder what she is doing tonight…
11:43am- I text her, immediately regret it and don’t expect to hear back.
11:44am- Still haven’t heard back. Maybe she lives on the west coast
11:45am-A tour is coming through the quad. They round the corner between Olin and Uris libraries, walk backwards towards Goldwin-Smith and Stimson and fill in prospective students and curious parents about the demographics and qulities of two of the most defining schools at Cornell that reside on this particular quad: The College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. I applied to be a tour guide twice, and it was the only on-campus job I applied to that I didn’t get. I think I would be perfect for it, and although I have never actually been on a university tour, I give them in my head when I walk to class every once in a while. Just in case they need to call me up from the minors one day.
11:50am- She probably lives on the west coast
11:51am- Rumor goes that there are three tunnels on campus. Two of them lie on the Arts quad: one exists between Uris and Olin libraries and is only open on Slope Day. This is only partly true, it is not officially open on Slope Day, but sophomore year, one of my roommates and I decided to check it out and had a wonderful custodian escort us to the door that leads between the two, but wouldn’t let us all the way through. The second tunnel I have heard whispers of on the Arts quad lies between the administrative building (Day Hall) and Goldwin Smith. This one was built after the race riots of the 1960s and allows the President to escape his office in the event of students taking over the building. I can’t confirm this, but only because Skorton still can’t find time to get on my schedule.
11:56am- She totally lives on the west coast right? Or maybe she isn’t like me, and has a job. “Funemployment”, as I keep telling people, doesn’t pay as well as you would hope…
11:57am- I start looking through old pictures I have on my computer and find a few that I meant to post and write about that occurred here on the Arts quad. I have a few journals, countless memos and texts, and an array of pictures, post-its, etc. methods of reminding me about potential blog posts. Frankly, it’s a busy life being Cullen B. Harwood…
NOON- time does seem to pass pretty quickly. I look at Day Hall and wonder if Skorton has this same problem. I’ve mentioned our illustreous president in the blog plenty of times–usually in jest. The truth is, a roommate met him sophomore year and I am very jealous. I sent him an email freshman year. He responded too, and even though it took him a month, I was impressed, shocked, and soon learned that he is much better than some of his Professors at responding to emails. Professor Pedro Perez, who isn’t a very good Professor as it was, took 9 months to respond to an email from me. I forgot I had sent it and had to look back to figure out what he was talking about.
12:09pm- A little Facebook stalking doesn’t confirm if she lives on the west coast, or is employed.
12:11pm-Never should have sent that text. It is confirmed
12:13pm-I’ll proofread this tomorrow. Off to CTB for a sandwich. Note to self, tweet this post at my boss too…
When I see that in print, it feels fake. Events have begun to meld together in my past; in conversations with friends about their summer travel plans I told someone that I had been to Costa Rica in 2003. Turns out, I was three years off, but time, events, most of my life really, has all melded into a BC era–Before College (or ‘Before Cornell’ technically…)
The worst part of this to me is that I can remember conversations I had freshman year. Where posters were placed on walls Sophomore year. Which class I skipped Junior year. And the mileage on my car when I sold it senior year. I am far too rapidly approaching the end of my college career and the whole thing seems fake to me. I am living in state of denial.
My brother was accepted to Cornell. He can’t figure out why I am upset about this; it is because he gets to spend the next four years here…
I picked up a New York Times today, Monday May 2, 2011. I did this because I have a habit of collecting front pages. It is a trait that I inherited from my family. I have Obama’s election, every Yankees World Series win in my lifetime (thanks Grandma!), my Grandfather had the falling of the Berlin Wall, and so forth. In light of last night’s events, I went to grab a copy of the paper today. I didn’t grab the USA Today that had the headline “Osama Bin-Laden is Dead, Obama Says” but instead, I grabbed the New York Times which had no mention anywhere of Bin-Laden’s death. I grabbed this one because print media is dead.
This isn’t a new statement, or really even really a bold statement. People have been saying this for years, but the events of May 1, 2011, prove that social media is our news outlet. It wasn’t the revolutions in Egypt or Iran that did this; Twitter nor Facebook were widespread enough throughout these countries to have such an incredible impact. But everyone I talked to today found out about the death of Bin-Laden through some sort of status update, whether it was Twitter or Facebook, BBM status or text message. Therein lies the true power of social media That is it. That is the nail in the coffin for print media. “All the News That’s fit to Print”, and the New York Times doesn’t have arguably the largest event since 9/11.
On a side note, Cornell went crazy. There were fireworks, people driving around with flags and all sorts of tomfoolery. Pictures to follow!
When we embark on college–the next four, two, eight, years of our life to be consumed by an institution that will give us nothing more than a piece of card stock with some fancily drawn letters on it to commemorate our blood, sweat and tears (and then only communicate with us to ask, no, beg us for money)–we do not realize just how much there is to be learned. Yes, I can tell you about the intricacies of Collective Bargaining in the Auto Industry and why the relative power of the Unions has decreased in recent years. I can carry a conversation about Macro Economic policy in Europe. I’ll give my opinion on literature in America, the impact of social media on society, and the fragile political system in the global north. Hell, I can even tell you how much Bees add to our economy every year ($14 Billion. Bees! $14 Billion!) But this all pales in comparison to what I really learned in college.
One of my single biggest fears coming to college was my diet. At home, my mother was in charge of making sure I ate veggies, and had a good balance of carbs, grains, and whatever. At college, she wasn’t going to be there to make me eat these things.
I had to learn how to iron shirts effectively. And how to make a budget. How to ask a professor or TA for help when I was doing poorly in a class, instead of them holding my hand along the way. I had to learn how to behave in a social setting–how to handle my alcohol (one of the most important things I learned) and also how to handle other people on alcohol. And when either of those got out of hand, I had to learn how to navigate into safety, or talk my way out of trouble. I had to learn how to talk to girls.
Actually, I still have to learn that one…
On the real though, it is all of these things, and more that I will walk away with as the most worthwhile learning experiences. I learned that I am bulletproof, only to learn that that is not truly the case. And sure, the conversations I can maintain are excellent, and the point of view I bring to the table is informed and unique, but these aren’t the most practical applications of my education. It is what I learned on how to be a person.
So thank you Cornell, for while I may have avoided your libraries, cursed the professors you deemed appropriate for tenure, and openly criticized the expectations you have of your students, ultimately, I owe you.
While I have mentioned before that I never feel like I am just a number at a school of 14,000 undergrads, that is in fact how Cornell classifies all of us. There are a few numbers that mean anything to me as a Cornell Student:
2011 is the year I graduate.
cbh58 is my NetID, and the most common form of identifying myself. It is my email, and what is required of me to log-in to computers, Blackboard, NetPrint, etc. This number is intuitive; my initials, and I am the 58th person to have such initials. Some NetIDs make you ponder them; one of my roommates was pfe4. It seems shocking that he was only the fourth PFE in the hundred plus year history (REALLY old alumni who were around before the internet still get NetIDs). Some don’t surprise you. sas226 for example. Not surprised that there are 225 previous SAS-es…
The number that really puzzles me is the 7-digit student ID. This number, mostly used for administrative purposes, seems to have no rhyme nor reason to it. I thought maybe it was assigned alphabetically, but my sister is completely different from me, and has a lower number. The guy I sat next to in Wines, alphabetically almost as close as you could get in the senior class, was very different from me too. He thought that maybe it had to do with when you were accepted. But he got in after me, and also had a lower number than me. There just doesn’t seem to be any logic to the way these numbers are done.
Every freshman across the country has that fear of their roommate situation when they first get assigned sometime in June or July. I was no different; I spent weeks checking the Cornell Class of 2011 website to see what the prognosis would be. By no means did I want a single– this is college, you should have a roommate– but I also didn’t really want a quad or really even a triple. I got lucky enough to get just one roommate.
His name was Chris and he was from Ringwood NJ. His Facebook profile said he liked frisbee, friends, and games. He took a few weeks to respond to my emails, and when he did, he used an awful lot of emoticons. I figured he couldn’t be too bad, right?
Your first impression is absolutely a lasting one, and I am not sure I made the best first impressions. Having been a day student at a Boarding School for high school, I kind of knew what stuff I should bring. Being a life-long pack-rat and survivalist, I brought way too much stuff. I moved in first and immediately took over “my” half of the room. A few hours later, after my mom and I had already lofted my bed, organized shelves, drawers and desks, Chris, his twin brother, and his loving parents showed up. He had one suitcase, his backpack, and one bin of odds and ends. My usurpation of the room would go unchallenged. As if that wasn’t enough of a first impression, there were two conversations that probably (and rightfully) freaked out Chris and his parents
The first was about a street sign I had “acquired” over the summer in some remote town in Illinois. It read “Cornell Ct” and Chris’ twin asked me where I got it. I replied I had found it in a yard…come on, who finds a street sign in a yard? That lie didn’t fool anyone, and I distinctly remember Mrs. Fleischl giving me a “who is this kleptomaniac that my son is rooming with” look.
The second conversation was in regards to a hammer. My father bought me my first hammer and said “Son, I want you to sleep with this hammer”. I did so, and since he has never told me to stop sleeping with said hammer, it still resides next to my bed (former girlfriends have decided that under my pillow was too literal…). When my mom pulled the hammer out of its box and asked where I wanted it to be put, “next to my bed” did little else to impress the Fleischls.
Despite the rocky start, Chris and I got along well enough over the rest of the year. He was a Packers fan, and I liked the Bears. We both would procrastinate until no end. We had similar enough music tastes and sleep habits (although the kid could sleep through a bomb going off). We had a few little disagreements, that I was most likely completely responsible for, but all in all he was a very good roommie. We parted ways for the summer, me to go and work at a factory, and him to go and work for Schindler Elevator company. Only he didn’t come back.
Chris took a semester off. We would text, Facebook, email, etc when the Bears and Packers played or saw something worth mentioning to each other. I saw him on campus once or twice when he returned from his semester off. But then, he stopped responding to texts. And calls. And shut down his Facebook wall. None of our friends have seen nor heard from him in well over a year…
This is very unfortunate to me as he was a decent friend of mine (at least I think he was). If anyone knows where in the world Carmen, er, Chris is, they should holler at me.
Obviously Cornell has a rich alumni group that has done a lot of really cool things. Big whoop, what is really cool are the kids who do stuff while at school or start a company in their first year out. Two of them in particular are pretty awesome.
scuttleHub: Social Networking really became big when Facebook blew up. Now everyone wants to get in on the party, but the landscape is cha
nging again and going towards geo-location based social networking (ie Foursquare). The problem that has arisen with most social networking are the privacy concerns. Well scuttleHub eliminates that by making all contributions anonymous. They take each location and make it into a virtual bulletin board. It is currently being tested int he Ithaca area. Very cool. Very Cornell.
Life Changing Apparel: Socially responsible clothing is so in. Just ask Tom, who sells shoes and then gives a pair to kids in Argentina. LCA works under the same principle: sell a shirt, give a kid water. They are partnered with a company that distributes
Lifestraws, a device that can be stuck in any water source from puddles to muddy puddles and when you drink through the straw, clean water comes through. Because everyone deserves water.
Both of these companies founders are less than a year out of Cornell. One of them quit his job to pursue his passion. Cornellians having an impact and making a name for themselves: that’s the way to play the game.
What with the nature of the internet and blogosphere and all, my website seems to get found semi-frequently and the ensuing comments that accompany this finding can get to be pretty hilarious. Of course, I frequently get the adoring fans, sometimes a few cute girls I know, very rarely my family, and just once from any of my roommates. I love it when perspective students leave comments or fill out my form, but I also love some of the more obscure comments.
Spam has been around since the beginning of the interwebs, and I have been unable to escape it–but this is the source of my more obscure comments. On any given post I will ge tthings saying “I find your writing inspirational and insightful” or “I have never thought about it that way. Thanxs for the purspective”. People, I just wrote about the weather. That is what you talk to your grandparents on the phone about. It is not motivating, deep, or really even all that interesting. The other funny thing about my spam is who it comes from; I frequently hear from “Big Breasts” “Larger Breasts” and “Biggest Breasts”. I don’t know if they are sisters with unfortunate names or what…
I went to Hawaii for a week with my family. Sure i ditched the Dominican Republican with a third of the senior class, but the rest and relaxation has been unprecedented. My brothers and I have spent plenty of time kicking a soccer ball and enjoying the scenery. Life is easy.