Monthly Archives: September 2010

Quite the nice surprise…

The other night, I was in my dorm room working on some Econ (if anyone could explain to me Comparative Advantage…do come forth), when I got a call from a strange number.

“Is David there?”

“Yeah,” I replied.

“We’re in the parking lot outside Donlon.”

Knowing that there are a couple other David’s in my building, I quickly dismissed the call and said “no…no…wrong person.”

Half an hour later, I get another call from a good friend saying, “GO TO THE PARKING LOT!!”

Going with the flow, I headed downstairs to find a Collegetown Pizza man waiting for me! My friends from home, knowing that it was exam time here at Cornell, called up the local pizza place and ordered me pizza, sodas, and desserts!

Just came out of nowhere!

If you've been reading the blog for this long, you shouldn't be surprised by the arrows...

I’ll tell you, if there’s one thing that could put a smile on your face after a night of studying…this definitely has to be it.

So thank you, Connecticut friends, for satisfying my desire for pepperoni, cheese, and canoles. And for giving me the opportunity to write “canole” in big red letters.

Ithaca is Fences!

Every day, on my walk from North Campus (where freshmen live) to Central, I cross over the Thurston Avenue Bridge. While I’m greeted with a phenomenal view of a waterfall (seriously…how many students can say that they pass a waterfall on the way to class?!), I’m also consistently reminded of the tragic suicides that took place last year.mail (640×480)I’ve noticed that there’s definitely been a whole lot of buzz about the issue. From “Ithaca is Fences” bumper stickers to articles in the Cornell Sun, it’s pretty obvious that Cornellians are riled up about the issue and have some differing beliefs on whether the fences should be in place or not.

Personally, I think the fences are a necessary evil: as horrible as the memories and ideas they conjure up are, the university simply did not have a choice after the multiple suicides last year. My belief is that if they save save one life–and stop one person from making an impulsive move that could end their life and drastically affect the lives of those close to them–they are entirely worth it.

However, I could definitely see the beliefs that opponents have. What kind of message does this send to prospective students? Welcome to Cornell, the school that actually has to put up physical barriers to prevent its’ students from committing suicide?

I also think that, to an extent, this issue has been exaggerated because the American news media are businesses: they try to sell stories to consumers. When you have articles like this published which state that “3 students plunge to death in campus gorges in past month,” it’s a heck of a lot more attention-grabbing than other forms of suicide, or other news stories in general. If the media would stop perpetuating the stereotype of Cornell being a suicide school, and perhaps focus on other, happier stories (like this Hotelie who sponsors proms for kids with life-threatening illnesses), we would be in a much better place.

The bottom line is that every member of the Cornell community wants the best for everyone…it’s just the methods of achieving that goal are not without controversy.

Random thoughts from being on the Hill almost a month

Wow, it’s been almost a month since I’ve arrived in Ithaca! It’s definitely bittersweet–I miss my friends as much as I enjoy being here, meeting people, taking classes and being able to sleep in. The thing is, with this thing you kids call “technology,” it’s been incredibly easy to keep in touch with my friends at other colleges. One simple text or two can go a long way into making you feel at home…

I feel like I’ve said this a million times, but I love getting comments from people on my blog posts. Here’s a good one:

“After reading this post, I feel much better about college applications. Thank you so much for addressing top concerns in a senior’s life! This blog has helped me tremendously.”

Aww, thanks Cynthia! I’ve been having fun writing these posts, so I’m glad people are enjoying them.

Now, I have absolutely no rhyme and reason for the next couple of thoughts about freshman year; they just happened to pop into my mind. Here we go:

  • As far as dining goes on North Campus (where freshmen live), Appel Commons > Robert Purcell Community Center. It’s just plain happier and newer. I’ll happily make the trek from Donlon over there for lunch/dinner any day.
Appel Commons

Appel Commons

  • The word ‘Cornell’ looks really good on a sweatshirt. Seriously, it does. Nothing against any other school, but there’s something to be said about a nice red sweatshirt bearing Ezra’s name.

    Cornell Sweatshirt Zip Hooded Classic Red

    Gotta love the Cornell sweatshirts!

  • Man, you have to walk a lot here! I mean, I’d consider myself relatively in shape, but you definitely have to take a breather or two as you’re walking from North Campus down to classes in the Arts quad. I’ve heard the term “Cornell calves” used a couple times…there’s definitely a lot of opportunities to resist gaining the freshman 15 here.
  • I brought a TV up from home, and didn’t really want to pay DirecTV $30 a month…so I bought some cords to connect my MacBook Pro to the TV. That way I can stream Hulu and Netflix TV shows/movies for free (except having to worry about going over your alloted internet limit)
  • I can’t study in my room. It’s just impossible because everything is so distracting–and having Facebook up makes it all the much worse. Yeah, you’ll be chugging along just fine with your math problems…but the second that little red flag with the (1) comes up telling you that you’ve got a notification, there’s no resisting the urge, and you know it.
Come am I NOT supposed to click that?!

Come am I NOT supposed to click that?!

  • One thing I’ve heard is that C.U. stands for Construction U., and I’d have to agree. I’m convinced that, on any given day in Cornell’s history, there has been a Caterpillar moving dirt around. You pass ’em on Central Campus all the time–but hey, if it means the architecture students get a new building and the chemistry kids get new labs…who can complain?
  • Once you get here, high school achievements are basically nonexistent. Yeah, it’s Cornell…and while you might have been proud of that AP Scholar award or 2390 SAT in high school, I have thankfully not heard people ask or share this information once–it just doesn’t come up, and nobody cares to be honest. Personally, I’ve made it a rule here not to eat lunch with anyone that got less than a 2400 or 4.5 GPA in high school. (Just kidding. Do I even need to say just kidding, or does the sarcasm come across over text?)
  • The Pyramid Mall in Ithaca is definitely Welcome to The Shops at Ithaca Malla great thing to have nearby–it’s not too far of a ride on the TCAT buses, and has everything you’d ever need–Target, Best Buy,  and Bon Ton. I actually have no idea whatsoever what Bon Ton is, but I saw it there and needed a third store just so the sentence wouldn’t sound awkward.

I know that the second I hit the ‘submit post’ button, I’ll think of a dozen more bullet points. Eh well, I’ll incorporate ’em later on!

Freshman year is officially underway…

…and I’m definitely enjoying it! It’s quite the change, to put it lightly.

I think that my dad put it best as we were saying our emotional final goodbyes, when he mentioned that starting out in college “might just be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do in your life.” Let’s face it–I was comfortable at home; I had my friends, I had mastered how to do well academically, and had my family as a support system. Starting all over with a clean academic record and knowing nobody isn’t easy, but I’m definitely making progress! As huge a school Cornell is, it’s great that they house all of the freshmen on North Campus because it does build community. You do begin to see the occasional familiar faces, and slowly relationships form…

A week or two ago, I made the wise decision of attending Clubfest, held in Barton Hall. For those not in the loop, Clubfestclub is basically a showcase for all the student organizations at Cornell; each one has its’ own booth, and you walk around learning about what each one has to offer. As awesome as it was, it was also intimidating because you have to pick and choose; you can’t do all of them, and you have to balance ’em with your academics and free time as well. Each organization is trying to garner interest and support by getting your contact/e-mail information…and of course, me being the submissive, aim-to-please type I freely gave out my email. Well, that wasn’t such a bright decision–now my inbox is getting flooded with information and updates on all kinds of random events from clubs that I don’t have too much of an interest in. Ah well, live and learn.

How are classes going, you ask? Not too bad at all. I’m really enjoying my Freshman Year Writing Seminar  called Cigarette Cultures, and considering a lot of peoples’ experiences with FWS classes are hit-or-miss, I’m very satisfied! As far as the rest of them–Economics, French, Math–I’m liking them a lot too.

I’m still learning, though, what exactly I should be doing outside of class. In high school, if you have a lesson on something in a class, you’ll then be assigned readings or a worksheet. Once you’ve done the readings and worksheets for the night, YOU’RE DONE! You can then spend the rest of the night relaxing and watching 30 Rock on NBC. (No, I’m not getting paid by Tina Fey to say that–I just think it’s a hysterical show, and the new season is starting up September 23rd.) In college, the professors don’t explicitly say “read this” or “do this to understand the material”; it’s up to you to learn how you’ll learn best and optimize your performance on the exams.

I started badminton for my P.E. class, and I have to say that it’s a lot of fun. It’s also one of those “only at Cornell” types of things–where else will you get credit to hit birdies around?

As always, thanks for the comments that people are leaving on the blog! It’s nice to see that everyone from high school seniors in China to parents of freshmen are enjoying what I’m doing.

My amazing feat

Ladies and gentlemen, I have some very important news to share with you. It’s absolutely mind blowing, and I’m sure you will appreciate the significance of this event.

I, David, have officially completed MY FIRST LOAD OF LAUNDRY…EVER!

Wow, that feels good to say–I feel like an entirely changed person.

mail (2048×1536)

Proof of this spectacular accomplishment

Nah, maybe I shouldn’t go that far. But in all seriousness, I am pretty proud of the accomplishment. I know, I know…some of you might think of me as having been a spoiled child because I’ve never touched detergent before in my life, but college is the time to grow, mature, and finally learn these things…right?

I’m still not 100% sure about the whole laundry process (if you’re separating colored and white clothes, where do you put gray t-shirts?), but hey, it’s a sign–I’m becoming more and more independent! Soon enough in my college career, maybe I’ll start putting on and tying my own shoes.

Just kidding, about that last one.