Final exam time is always a really paradoxical time at Cornell; let me tell you why.
On one hand, it’s stressful as heck. (Most) Cornellians slave away the entire semester in their courses, participating in class, doing homework and taking notes. Once that’s over, how well you do in a a 2.5 hour period is what determines up to 40-50% of your grade. Understandably, that grade percentage can be pretty nerve wracking–my chem final was 40%, and the accounting final was 30%, for example.
On the other hand, it’s a really chill time. During study week, nobody really has any commitments; most extracurriculars end the week before, and nobody has any classes to go to. For the majority of people, their days simply involve waking up, trotting over to the library, and parking themselves in a nice seat for the day to study. This intense mindset also means any sort of clothing is acceptable to wear–raggedy “Cornell Class of 2014″ shirts that were given away as freebies, large sweatpants, pajamas…you name it. During finals week, nobody judges you on anything. (Except maybe the delivery guy that delivered me Taste of Thai food outside Mann Library at an unholy hour.)
How did finals go for me? Eh, they were fine. Despite taking six classes, I only had 3 actual finals during exam week….which were all evenly spaced out. I left Ithaca shortly after my chemistry exam ended on Friday, and have been settling in back home in the meantime. Now that I’ve received my grades for the semester, it’s comforting to know that everything’s “wrapped up.”
Now, I get to enjoy myself for a week or two before my two winter break classes start on December 26th!
In part because I have no other exciting news to report in my life, let me publicly answer a reader email that might be of assistance to some applicants:
I’ve been following your blog since the beginning and I love it. It’s actually what made me really love Cornell! I’m a senior now and I just recieved my ED Decision today and I got deferred. Do you have any helpful tips on what can maybe help me get accepted in April? I appreciate your help!
- There is still a chance regular decision, so be proactive.
- Update the admissions committee with first semester grades, any awards that you’ve received, etc. (There’s probably a fine line between “updating” and “pestering” them, though.)
- Make sure that you’ve shown “fit” if you’ve applied to more “fit” based colleges/programs, like ILR, HumEc, or the Hotel School.
- Understand that Cornell isn’t perfect–it can be cold, isolating, and stressful–so the sooner you move away from adoration of Cornell, and fall in love with other schools, the better.
- It’s still relatively early in the college process, and EDII is an option elsewhere. Make sure you know your options at other schools.
- Enjoy senior year of high school, regardless of the decision!