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The last official post

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.

So one last time, give my regards to Davy.

Time flies

Four years.

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…

The day print media died

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!

What I have learned in College

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.

ID Numbers

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.

Highlighting a few Cornell Entrepreneurs

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

scuttleHub
scuttleHub

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

LCA. Live Longer.
LCA. Live Longer.

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.

Comments

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…

Spring Break

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.

Life. Is. Easy.
Life. Is. Easy.

Ithacating

Jen, a prospective undergrad, wanted me to address the weather in a blog. While this might seem like one of those topics that you discuss with your grandparents when there is nothing else to talk about, it is actually a legitimate concern for plenty of people.

When I applied to school, I would inevitably get bored while not doing my homework senior year and wind up browsing sites like CollegeProwler or PrinctonReview looking at schools that I was hoping to attend. One day, I decided to see where Ithaca and South Bend, my two top choices, fell on the Weather grades. I kept scrolling past the likes of U of Florida, and Pepperdine, and even Saint Louis University (I’ve heard it rains garbage there…) until all the way at the bottom was Cornell and Notre Dame, both given D- grades.

Sure, the weather in Ithaca can suck: we were wearing shorts and sitting on the patio of CTB a week ago and now we have 6 inches of snow on the ground, but really, this isn’t that big of a deal because what it proves is that if you don’t like the weather in Ithaca, stick around for a day or two: it is going to change.

A typical school year for us goes like this: August and September are unbearably hot. (To be fair, if it is 80 out, I think it is unbearable…) The end of September, October, and most of November are awesome. The trees change and the hills look increadible as you walk through campus. December thru February is typically pretty consistently cold, though not usually frigid, and we’ll have snow. Plus, it is so incredibly pretty. March until graduation could see snow again, but it is typically warmer and great to spend time outside. The summer in Ithaca is virtually unparalleled though. Between the sun, the gorges, and the quiet of Collegetown, you are hard pressed to find a better place.

Look how pretty the snow is!! How could you possibly give that up? Photo credit: Sam Jones
Look how pretty the snow is!! How could you possibly give that up? Photo credit: Sam Jones

My advice: don’t pick a school based on the weather. I like having the seasons, and one of my good buddies who ended up in California struggles to not skip class and play Frisbee every day. Meanwhile, I find it easy to stay inside on a day like today where it is 38, cloudy, and drizzling. This is good news because I have plenty of work I have been putting off. Even my roommate from California or friend from Singapore have gotten used to the cold of Ithaca. Hope that helps Jen!

100 Days

There are 100 days left until Graduation.

A good buddy of mine graduated last year and is currently being trained in Abu Dhabi, before he returns to work in Siberia where he has been stationed for the past 4 months. Needless to say, we don’t get to talk that often, but over gChat the other day, he asked me if I had gotten to the point where I was ready to leave. For a while, I knew I was, and if you had asked me last semester I definately would have told you that.

Now that I have reached 100 days until I am no longer a Cornell Undergrad (we’re going to work under the assumption I am going to graduate…) I don’t think that I am ready to leave.

There are still so many “Cornell” things I have to do: get an apple from a vending machine, go to Buttermilk Falls, oversleep and completely miss a class (not partially miss, completely miss), and so on. I haven’t even met one of my most avid readers, President Skorton, yet!
And the most daunting thing about only having 100 days left isn’t that I’m unemployed or rapidly going broke, but is that this is the last time I will know where all of my friends are at any given time. If I want to see almost the entire senior class in my fraternity, I walk down the street and they’re all there. I want to see my closest girlfriends, we can grab coffee on a whim. I can go to a bar and know everyone there. This is it!

What I told my buddy was no, I am definately not ready to leave Ithaca, but I am ready for the quickest 100 days of my life!