What’s Up?

There is a terrible phenomenon sweeping this campus, and I have unfortunately fallen victim to it.

It starts out simply enough: I see my roommate, Garrett, strolling across campus, smiling and singing in his bright red shorts, and he says “What’s Up?”

My response makes absolutely no sense. “Good”, I say, “How are you?”

That made less than no sense. That’s right, I said it, negative sense. That was not a logical exchange. I am stupider having experienced that bastardization of the king’s English. Why did this happen? Are we too lazy to listen to each other? Are we totally ignoring each other? Am I so pompous that I assume he is going to ask me the question I am responding too?

I noticed the situation and shrugged it off, but it happened again later. And a third time. By the time I saw my sister, I was so frustrated that I totally ignored her. I started listening to other people talk too, and they did the same thing. This did make me feel a bit better, but I am still so confused as to why it happens all over our campus!

Swim Test

I just did the scariest thing at my time at Cornell.

Sure the first prelim you take is intimidating. Yes, my senior year is daunting. And I agree, most of my professors are probably zombies, or aliens. But all this pales in comparison to the University required swim test.

It may not seem that daunting, but trust me, it is. Started in the early 1900s as a way to prep people who were going off to war, the University has decided to not keep up with the times and still requires a swim test. This is stupid.

“You’re on the sailing team!” People have said to me. Uh, yea, we were life jackets…I  know how to swim, just not that well. Growing up on the various Great Lakes and spending plenty of time near the oceans, water doesn’t scare me that much. But lake and ocean swimming is so much different than pool swimming. Playing in the pool is way cooler than doing laps. Does anyone out there even enjoy doing laps? I bet even Michael Phelps just swims so he can kick ass, take names, and get onto Wheaties boxes.

I digress though. Freshman year, I signed up for a time to take the test, but was so confused about the ILR course requirements, I decided not to leave a meeting early for something that I considered useless. Sophomore year, well I just was lazy. Junior year, I figured I would call their bluff. I mean please, they won’t actually keep me from graduating right? They slapped me across the face and told me I will not graduate. So I signed up.

And missed it.

So today, I showed up at my newly scheduled swim test, the only senior amongst a sea of freshman. One kid tries to strike up conversation: “Hey man, you look familiar, do you live in Donlon.” If looks, could kill, he’d be dead.

I stood in line behind two chicks who were on the swim team in High School and a nice guy from Korea who had goggles and a swim cap. This was the beginning of my insecurities, as I stood there hoping I would be able to make all three laps while the people on either side of me started betting on who would finish first.

It got worse when I looked around; I don’t think I am a bad looking dude, I have some body acne from years of hockey pads and a love of greasy pizza, but at 21 years old, I have mostly come to terms with it. The swim test makes you feel all weird all over again. All sorts of people are there. As I mentioned, I grew up on the lake,my friends and I literally spending all summer wearing little more than a bathing suit. But this was a new experience as a hundred or so of us stood there awkwardly waiting our turn to jump in.

Anyways, my turn comes, I jump in and take care of the first lap with almost no problems (although, how the hell do you keep from bumping into the rope things??) Second lap, on your back, is almost relaxing. “This isn’t so bad” I thought. Then the third lap comes.

This one was tougher. My arms start to go numb and the chlorine is stinging my eyes. I try flipping onto my back only to look at the hundred awkward freshman, take a huge mouthful of water, and immediately flip back around onto my front. About halfway, across, I experience vertigo. I can see the wall, but also the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is coming towards me fast. I am reaching, grasping, stretching out as long as I possibly can, praying that there is a just and loving God who will either forgive me, or lift me to the end of the pool.

I get to the end, pull myself out and walk to the table full of student IDs, assuming I will get a medal, maybe even a high five. Instead the lady just looks at me and says “Kid, you can leave now”.

O No! O Week!

Orientation week is to some, the holy grail of the school year. And rightfully so; no classes, new students, nice weather, and so on. To others though, it represents the worst thing to ever happen. Ever.

It is the start of my senior year.

Yes, it sounds cliche and stupid to start fretting about it already, but as I sit next to a bonfire on the shores of Lake Michigan (writing this on my new smartphone, I am so 21st century) I find it difficult to imagine that people in Ithaca are coping with this issue of graduation better than I am.

I have roughly 9 months to pick a career path, deal with the trauma of moving on, face an economy where my demographic has the same unemployment that it did during the Great Depression, find a city to live in, travel the world, cure cancer, and get my damn sandwich at CTB or the Hot Truck. Oy, the stress is going to kill me.

Seriously though, I have avoided O-week in order to hang on to the last wisps of the summers that I have grown to adore over the past 21 years. This freedom is fleeting, and as I head into my Senior year, even with all the stress, trauma, and “unclear uncertainty” facing me, I realize that I am almost ready to give it up. There is no place that has prepared me for it better than Cornell.

Skorton, clear your calender, I’m headed back to Ithaca.