Cornell: The Land of Paradoxes

Given that my last few posts have been pretty heavy–touching upon the fact that my college career is coming to an end–I figure I’ll write a post that’s a little lighter in content.

Over my last 4 years, I’ve realized that Cornell is definitely a place of paradoxes, in many ways. A lot of things that you observe here can definitely make you think, “hmm…”

Don’t believe me? Here are a few examples:

Cornell has one of the best facilities design programs in the world, where renowned ergonomic experts research all aspects of building planning and managementmvr pic

…yet the building that it’s in, Martha Van Rensselaer, is one of the most confusing buildings I have ever been in. EVER. My favorite part of MVR: taking the elevator from one third floor to another third floor. See this post, where I got lost in it 2 years ago.

Mann Library is doing renovations to move an academic department to the fourth floor of the library, which is an interesting spot for offices as the higher floors constitute a lot of the silent study space…Cornell_Mann_Library_Interior_5

…and guess what department it is? Communication. (Okay, I get that a lot of communication isn’t “spoken,” per se, but it seems interesting to put a department with course offerings like “oral communication” in a location that was previously silent.)

ILR’s huge lecture hall was generously donated by the PepsiCo company, hence the nameIVS305 of Ives 305 as the “PepsiCo Auditorium” portrayed on a large sign outside the classroom…

…except signs explicitly say that you can’t eat or drink in it. Not even Pepsi products, I assume.

Driving up to Ithaca, it’s clear from the miles and miles of farmland you pass that Cornell’s in an area with plenty of space and cornfields…

Yet, despite our “middle of nowhere” location, finding parking here is nearly impossible. I can’t even count the number of people I know that have told me about getting a parking ticket. Though our campus is large enough to have its own zip code, somehow, successful parking requires a combination of patience, prayer, and luck.

Entering as a freshman, you’ll notice quickly that most people call RPCC’s Bear Necessities food location “Nasties“…

Except the food there isn’t nasty at all. It’s actually fantastic, and definitely was worth justifying to my tumblr_min01zgyGA1s17hwuo1_1280parents why I was out of BRB’s early in the semester… despite a generous meal plan.

If you could imagine a campus building that did not have windows, you’d assume it’d possibly house a department that’s related to a social science, or maybe something quantitative…right?

Then help me figure out why Bradfield houses the Atmospheric Sciences and meteorology offerings.  You’d think that out of all academic options, the one which has a specialty in weather forecasting would at least include darn windows outside. Bradfield’sdisplayImage website says its because the rooms are climate controlled, but why this building-and this department’s location in it-over all others? Fun fact: CNN recently ranked it one of the nation’s most spectacular campus buildings. Just saying, I’d love to hear the author’s thought processes behind that one…  

With its unique “any person…any study” mantra, its commitment to diversity, and the flexible curricula across colleges, Cornell prides itself on accommodating students with all sorts of varying academic and extracurricular talents…

…as long as they can pass a rigorous swim test (which constitutes numerous laps in an Olympic-sized pool). There are some exemptions-if you’re a transfer student, you don’t have to take it, and if you fail the test or just flat out don’t know how toskorton-1.jpg swim, you can enroll in PE 1100: Beginning Swimming. You may find it quirky, but I’ve known students that genuinely cannot swim and were worried about passing to graduate.

Here’s one that I began to appreciate after taking The First American University, aka #AMST2001 (current students, do yourself a favor and take the class).cornell Take a look at the Cornell seal and tell me…

…why, out of all the Ivy League schools to have a picture of a sun on it, is it the one that’s located in one of the cloudiest places I know…  Ithaca, New York? Okay, Brown has a sun on its seal, too…but the point remains.

Finally… there’s been one man on national television that has consistently perpetuated stereotypes of Cornell alums as being cocky, egotistical jerks. The university would probably6a00d8341c51c053ef01310f84cd3e970c want to distance themselves from him as much as possible, right?

…Nah, we ask him to speak at graduation instead. In all seriousness, though, I couldn’t be more excited that Ed Helms (!!!) is speaking at my commencement ceremony.

Cue the disclaimer: While all these are true to the best of my knowledge, no… I don’t actually harbor any resentment towards any of these things. (Except the 2 third floors in MVR thing…come on.)

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