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When Life Gets Stressful…

September 26, 2011 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Prelims have begun.

Therefore, so has camping out in the library until the wee hours of the morning. For several days in a row. My stress level related to academics has grown exponentially in the last week.

So what does a person do to deal with the demands of Cornell academics?

Watch ridiculously cute YouTube videos of course!!! (Follow the link. Right now. We all have times when we read blogs and think to yourself, “Now, I really don’t have time to watch another stupid YouTube video.” But this time is the exception; you should always make time for something that will brighten your day.)

But in all seriousness, it is the little things that help me get through. Yeah, calculus is hard. Yeah, I’ve never done computer programming before and my first prelim ever was for Matlab. Yeah, I’m across the country from home. But in the end, the work is going to pay off. And there are so many great ways to deal with stress. Here’s what has worked for me this week (other than watching the most ridiculously cute youtube video of all time. You have to admit, that has to be the cutest thing you’ve seen all week.)

  1. Power napping between classes somewhere in the engineering quad. We’ve all walked through Duffield on any given day and seen at least five people passed out on various chairs, couches, and assorted flat surfaces. Well, I was definitely one of those people. The couches in the lobby of Carpenter are very nap-friendly also.
  2. Walking in the plantations. It’s beautiful and fresh air is always calming.
  3. Studying outside. Again, fresh air rocks and it was sooooooo nice outside this weekend.
  4. Doing something not engineering related. Like star gazing on the grass couch in the ag quad.
  5. Having awesome friends. This is always a good idea, regardless. And the people at Cornell pretty much rock, so it’s not hard to find great friends.
  6. Procrastinate by blogging about it. I really should be studying right now… ;) So I think it’s time to wrap it up now.

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9/11/2011

September 24, 2011 · Comments Off · Uncategorized

Change. Peace. Cooperation. Hope.  This is what I saw on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Where did I see this? I attended a packing event for an organization called Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church. You may be wondering, What the heck is that??? FMSC is a nonprofit based in Minnesota that provides food to children around the world who are hungry. And in case you haven’t heard yet, there are a LOT of starving kids in the world. How do they do this effectively?

The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and we ship the meals to nearly 70 countries around the world. (http://www.fmsc.org/page.aspx?pid=453)

Children and adults hand pack meals.

There were some really cute kids. I'm sad I didn't get better pictures, but you get the idea.

At the event I attended, over the course of the weekend, hundreds of volunteers packed an excess of 233,000 meals. That’s enough food to feed a lot of kids. I volunteered as a part of the group from Cornell Christian Fellowship (CCF), but from Cornell United Religious Work, there were volunteers from 13 different chaplaincies including not only Christians groups but Jewish and Muslim as well.

My fellow CCF-ers and I rocking the hair nets.

My fellow CCF-ers and I rocking the hair nets.

On the weekend of 9/11.

Am I the only one that finds this fairly incredible? Honoring the anniversary of terrorism with coming together to and working for a greater greater good. It’s events like this that give me hope for a better future.

Needless to say, it was a pretty powerful experience. And I’m not going to lie, it was pretty fun too. We packed food as fast as we could while listening to obnoxious popular music.  So maybe they played a few classic songs (We Didn’t Start the Fire!) but there was definitely some Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift too. Now don’t get me wrong, I hate Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift as much as the next sensible person, but when you’re in a room with roughly 70 people and the college aged guys start belting “Love Story” at the top of their lungs…it’s quite entertaining. I honestly can’t imagine a more fun and impactful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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(I Got Sunshine) On a Rainy Day

September 8, 2011 · Comments Off · Uncategorized

As we all know, the weather in Ithaca is awful. There’s really no way to sugar-coat it. Yeah, there are nice days, but there are also blazing hot, humid days followed by torrential downpours.

Today was definitely a torrential downpour day.

I’m really not a fan of rain. Where I’m from, it pretty much never rains. On the rare occasion that it does, it pours for ten minutes and is sunny an hour later. I mean, yeah, I am from Oregon but I’m definitely not from the precipitation plentiful Willamette Valley. I’m from the other, high-desert in the rain-shadow side of the state. (Just to clarify, Oregon does exist outside the valley, shocking as that may seem!) Therefore, this whole pouring-all-day-long, everything-gets-soaked, stairs-become-a-slippery-death-trap definitely is not something I’m accustomed to.

Needless to say, when I woke up with a bit of a sore throat and heard the rain (yeah, it was raining so hard I heard it before I saw it), I prepared myself to have an awful day.

But the truth is, I had a pretty fantastic day. Sunshine doesn’t have to come from the weather; for me, it came in many different forms just today.

  1. Playing Music. I had an awesome clarinet lesson this morning. I got soaked both on my way there and on my way back, but it was great while it lasted.
  2. Colorful Rain Gear. Because I’m from the desert, I’ve never had to own rain boots before. I rather enjoy getting new shoes, so I ordered pink and green paisley boots. They’re quite wonderful; being able to wear them just makes me ridiculously happy. Additionally, my umbrella has rainbow polka dots on it. Who says you can’t occasionally bask in the sunshine provided by superficial things like shoes and accessories?
  3. Calculus Lecture. ??? You’re probably thinking, “This girl is CRAZY! Who finds sunshine in a calculus lecture???” Rest assured folks — I’m not quite that nerdy. While I do enjoy some good calculus, I didn’t find the whole lecture particularly sunny. However, this was REALLY funny:
    • “Well…it’s an arbitrary constant…and I’m kind of in a square root of pi sort of a mood today so let’s just go with that.” (Anybody? You know you kind of want to have a good chuckle at that one.)
  4. The Chimes. I found it particularly fitting that they chose today to play “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid on the chimes in the clock tower. It did feel a bit like we were under the sea. And who doesn’t love hearing music from Disney movies between classes?!?!!
  5. LOTS of Hot Tea. Not only did it keep me warm, it made my throat feel better!
  6. Meditating in Writing Seminar. It was pretty spiffy.
  7. Soup. I had a tasty little cup of veggie beef barley soup in the dry dining hall between classes. I really like soup.
  8. Yoga. Need I say more?
  9. Baking Cookies and Playing With Kittens. I am part of CCF (Cornell Christian Fellowship, a chapter of InterVarsity) and two of the many fabulous things about CCF is this: 1) the staff workers for InterVarsity just happen to be awesome and 2) they make sure there are always baked goods at every event. And I just happen to love baking. So this evening, I went to their home, baked cookies, and played with their ADORABLE kitten.  I mean, what more could I really ask for out of a Wednesday afternoon? Good company, fresh-baked cookies, cute furry creatures…
  10. A Ridiculously Unhealthy (But Delicious!) Late Night Snack. I needed a study break, so late this evening, I ran to Nasties for something to cure the rumbly in my tumbly. (Yeah, I did just reference Winnie the Pooh. Some things I’ll never grow out of.) I discovered this great thing at Nasties called the “Bear Sampler” — mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, onion rings, and potato wedges. YUM!

Lesson of the day: at Cornell, the sun may shine far too little, and it may precipitate far too much, but there are so many things that make up for the awful weather.

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What Are RAs Really For?

August 28, 2011 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

Tonight was just another typical Saturday night in the life of an engineering student — I was wandering the halls of Balch trying to find somewhere quiet to study. Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a bat out of hell came flying at my head!!! Okay, so maybe it was just an ordinary bat and maybe it wasn’t flying directly at my head, but it definitely was a large, black, winged creature flying in the hallway of a dorm building.

Pop quiz:

What did I do in this situation?

a) duck
b) scream like a small child
c) run away
d) all of the above

And the correct answer is (drum roll please) …. d! After I got done ducking, I screamed while running like mad away from the bat. Then I did what any sensible dorm resident would do: I went looking for the nearest RA to fix the problem.

You see, on move in day we were informed that we should call our RA with any questions or problems we may run into. They gave us examples of typical problems that are taken care of by RAs; these included things such as noise complaints, leaky shower heads, and roommate drama. But never would I have expect that the first real problem I needed to contact an RA about would be a bat. In the hallway of the dorm. What in the world would we do without RAs???

So what’s the moral of the story? Here’s what I came up with.

  1. There is no such thing as a typical Saturday night in college.
  2. The quiet place to study is NOT the hallway that the bat is in.
  3. Don’t open the window that doesn’t have a screen on it.
  4. You really can call your RA about anything and she will do her best to fix it. And now we know that after all, what are RAs for if not to figure out how to get the bat out of the hallway?

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Who Am I?

August 28, 2011 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Before I really dig into blogging here, I think it’s only fair to give some background about who I am. I’m a firm believer that content is always more powerful when you know who it is that is writing it. However, since no one actually wants to read my life story (and if they do, they probably shouldn’t; it’s not that interesting folks!), I am going to try to list all of the things about myself that are relevant to you in an 18 component list. Why? Well, I’m 18 years old and an item a year seems reasonable, right?

Here goes:

1. I’m a Freshman, so I’m completely new to thing whole college thing. Honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing so I’m making it up as I go and I’m sharing it here with whoever feels compelled to read it.

2. As of now, I’ve only been at Cornell a week.

3. I’m an civil engineering student. I hear this is a mild form of masochism as I will be spending the next four years locked in the library trying to get through a ridiculous work load. I think it’s worth it.

4. Why am I a civil engineering student? Because there are WAY too many people in this world that don’t have access to clean drinking water. I want to help.

5. I’m a Christian. Yes, there are Christians at Cornell. A fair amount of them from what I’ve seen this week. I’m fairly certain you could find a community of people here of pretty much any religion you could possibly think of.

6. The fact that I’m a Christian is really what’s driving me to spend my life working for social justice.

7. I play clarinet in the wind symphony.

8. One of the reasons I picked Cornell engineering over other similarly ranked institutions actually had nothing to do with the engineering department: at many schools it seemed really difficult to play in a decent ensemble (if such an group even exists) if you’re an engineer, but the top ensembles at Cornell are open to everyone.

9. I really like acapella music. Needless to say, I was really excited when I got to campus and found out that acapella is huge here. I may or may not have spent a good portion of orientation week sitting listening to said acapella groups perform.

10. Sadly, I don’t sing. I guess I’ll just have to settle for listening.

11. I eat peanut butter on pretty much everything, including Swedish fish and cinnamon bears. (Okay, so maybe that one wasn’t relevant. But you should try it, it’s REALLY good.)

12. I’m from Baker City, Oregon. And no, it does not rain there. You’re thinking of the Willamette Valley. I’m from the other side of the state where there is nothing but cows and mountains.

13. I spent last summer in San Francisco. Though I grew up in the middle of nowhere and moved to Ithaca for college, I do know what a city is like.

14. I live in a single in Balch Hall. My room here is bigger than my room at home is.

15. I distance run close to barefoot. (Note that I made no mention of how fast I run these distances; I’ll go as far as you want as long as I don’t have to do it quickly.)

16. Fun fact: the Cornell campus is a great place to run if you can handle the hills. It’s beautiful.

17. Photography is my latest hobby. I’m sure I’ll be sharing some of the products of that soon.

18. I’m pretty excited to share my life on the hill with all of you (whoever you happens to be.) It’s going to be a great year!

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