Saturday, June 4th, 2011

A cheery (and teary) farewell …

All of my years at Cornell have led up to this moment:  I am officially a Cornell alumnus! Now that I’m past graduation weekend, I cannot really accurately describe the feeling — sort of a mixture of pride, anticipation, sadness, and excitement rolled up into one frazzled little ball of emotion.  Coming out of senior week and graduation, I can honestly say that the end of this semester was one of the craziest yet — and for good reason.

As many of you know, graduation was this past Sunday — May 29th — and we started off on the Arts Quad, gathered by schools, to march as one big moving Class of 2011 mosh pit to Schoellkopf Stadium to start at 11am.  Aside from just killing time with Hotelies (which you can see in pictures below), the heat was unrelenting.  It had to have been around 90 degrees for the majority of the day, and with that black graduation robe and fancy dress-up clothes under it, I was sweating like I was a literally being cooked alive.  Yay Ithaca (again!)!

Gathering on the Arts Quad ...
Gathering on the Arts Quad …

Pre-grad pic with my roomate, Preston ...
Pre-grad pic with my roomate, Preston …

We were all so excited, obviously.
We were all so excited, obviously.

Heading over to the stadium — in our graduation attire, marching as almost-alums — was a surreal experience unlike any other, which I honestly wasn’t expecting.  Along the entire way, there were professors, staff, students, families, etc., all clapping for us, and that was the first time I think it really sunk in — like, “wow, I’m really ending this thing soon, aren’t I?”  And just realizing all of the people I’d met over the years — the hundreds of close friends, familiar faces, and relived experiences, all passing by in a matter of minutes on that simple stroll to Schoellkopf.  Amazing.

Marching to the stadium!
Marching to the stadium!

We got cheers!
We got cheers!

And there were ... um ... A LOT of people.
And there were … um … A LOT of people.

After Skorton gave us the nice “go-ahead” for our diplomas — which, by the way, the Hotelies were by far the loudest at, of course — we headed straight over to Barton for the Hotelie-only ceremony where we walked to get our diplomas.  This was probably my favorite part of the day because let’s face it:  I spent the entirety of my four years here with Hotelies, and I thought it was very fitting to go out that way as well.  Meeting my family after hearing Dean Carvell say “Evan Carr, with distinction!” as I walked across to shake Dean Johnson’s hand was a fulfilling, yet oddly sinking few seconds; you realize that you have finally defeated Cornell, but when you walk past that last handshake, you’re into “adulthood” (whatever that means), and you’re losing that warm-and-fuzzy Big Red security blanket.

Me with that extremely expensive piece of paper.

Me with that extremely expensive piece of paper.

So that’s the bulk of it — after that, my brother, mother, and father joined me for an afternoon graduation reception at Llenroc for the seniors, which was a great way to unwind before dinner at Rulloff’s.  And that’s that.  That’s that.

You know, the aura around Cornell is something that is truly unique and unbelievable.   After graduating high school, I never thought that I would meet such a fascinating compilation of individuals, an incessantly brilliant faculty (across many different schools, not just the Hotel School), and a culture that mixes fun and eccentric better than any other college campus in America.  With life on the hill, you can always write about what’s happening — but you will never encapsulate the full experience unless you are here.  Connections — with the people, with the campus, and with the history — are what make Cornell so tremendously rewarding and satisfying.

With this being my final post, I feel it is necessary and appropriate to thank those people that made my Cornell experience one that is so difficult for me to walk away from.  First and foremost, my family:  My brother, Ryan, for adding levity to any situation and being the seed of competition and support that pushed me far past any boundary that I thought contained me.  My mother, JoAnna, for being the unrelenting optimist that saw the positive in anything.  And my father, Jeffery, for giving me stability and practical advice whenever I sought it.  Also, I have to thank all of my brothers in the Delta Phi (Llenroc) fraternity for an incredible past few years:  The Llenroc experiences that I will remember — far past my graduation on Sunday — are some of the fondest that I’m sure I will ever have.  You are all great friends and great people, and I’m already looking forward to returning to the house to have a casual conversation and a cold beer with all of you on the roof of Llenroc.

Moreover, how can I forget Hotelies!  Now that I’m pursuing an Experimental Psych PhD at UC San Diego, I often get questions like, “why were you a Hotelie?” and “didn’t you wish you switched?”  I’d be lying if I said that I was certain that I was in the right place throughout my whole time here.  In fact, at certain points, I was one signature away from leaving my Hotelie status for something else.  But looking back on it, the Hotel School is what exposed me to psychology through business, what motivated me to pursue how my business interests related to other fields, and what allowed me access to so many great friends and faculty.  So in short, I couldn’t be happier with how things worked out, and I wouldn’t change a thing.  Just goes to show that the Cornell doors really can fly open anywhere — you just have to be the one to turn the knob.

And last but certainly not least, thank you to Lisa for letting me have this blog for my years here at Cornell.  Having a voice on campus has been incredibly valuable for me, and I’m so happy that I have a chronicle that I can look back on now that I’m leaving — the ups and the downs.  You were an amazing mentor and an overall fun person to be around.  Please keep in touch.

With that, I leave you with one final piece of advice:  Cherish the friends and the social experiences that you will have at Cornell.  The academic pedigree of Cornell is what you come for at the start, but I guarantee that you will leave here with much more than a diploma.  You will have friends that make you laugh, pictures that make you cry, and thoughts that fill your heart  with joy.  So if you’re depressed about all of the studying or get a bad grade on a prelim, realize it’s not a big deal in the overall picture of your college experience.  Realize, instead, that even though your time on the hill may be limited, the positive memories that you will build and carry with you can (and should) be timeless.

My family and I.

My family and I.

Goodbye and good luck, Cornell.  I loved every second of it.

~ Evan

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Time of My Life.

Well, here it is:  Hauled up in Olin Library since 7:30pm tonight — and goin’ to be ’til they kick me out at 2am — studying for the last final exam of my Cornell undergrad career (tomorrow).  I’ve had a hellish finals schedule (4 finals and 3 papers), so having the end in sight is still bittersweet, but maybe a little more on the sweet side.

Between Slope Day, my last Llenroc formal, Hotelie Prom, etc., I’ve been reminded over and over again about why I love this place — and how it’s going to be so bizarre when I don’t have to return in the fall and head off to UC San Diego instead.  I started out on the hill like so many other Cornell freshmen — bright-eyed, jittery, dorky to the nth degree, while treating the difference between an “A-” and an “A” as if it was going to determine every other subsequent success or failure in my life.  With all of my senior reflections, it’s difficult to say that my grades mattered that much; aside from getting me into a PhD program (which I’m no doubt extremely thankful for, of course), I’m not going to remember the Cornell academics.  Not going to remember my psychopathology prelim, my GPA from spring of sophomore year, my stress over all of my TA’ing, or my group paper for marketing that wasn’t quite as good as it could’ve been.  No, I’ll remember my senior speech on the stairs of Llenroc — saying my parting words to the best friends I’ve made here.  I’ll remember spring of my sophomore year for pledging and all of the inherently crazy stories that go along with it.  I’ll remember the open parties, the concerts in Barton, the conversations with Hotelies at Mac’s, the drunken stumbles to Ruloff’s on the weekend, my 4 Slope Days (that which I can piece together, I mean), late night trips to Nasties, and sitting on the roof of Llenroc with a beer.  I’ll remember the laughs and the cries — many of which have been this past semester.

Cornell has a wealth of opportunity that is unparalleled — both intellectually and interpersonally.  And I will debate anyone that those that don’t take advantage of the latter are missing out on way more than those that skip over the former.

I will, most certainly, have one more post — post-graduation and Senior Week — but as a seed of advice before I give my parting words, underclassmen should take these words and hang onto them:  The memories you have will not be for academics when you leave here — they will be for the friends and the good times you had.  So have as many as possible.  You will more than a few chances.

One more update to come.  Stay tuned, people.

-Ec

Good Riddance (Time of My Life) by Green Day …

Another turning point;
a fork stuck in the road.

Time grabs you by the wrist;
directs you where to go.

So make the best of this test
and don’t ask why.

It’s not a question
but a lesson learned in time.

It’s something unpredictable
but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs
and still frames in your mind.

Hang it on a shelf
In good health and good time.

Tattoos of memories
and dead skin on trial.

For what it’s worth,
it was worth all the while.

It’s something unpredictable
but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

(music break)

It’s something unpredictable
but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s something unpredictable
but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Brian Lo.

On a day when I would usually have nothing but good news to write about, it’s with an extremely heavy heart that I’m writing about the death of one of my fellow senior Hotelies, Brian Lo.  Brian died early Friday morning at a house fire on 107 Cook Street in CTown, a 2-minute walk from my apartment on Dryden (news story and university statement).  I have known Brian since freshman year, and I am incredibly overwhelmed and saddened by the terrible news that we all received today.

R.I.P. Brian Lo.  You will be missed.

R.I.P. Brian Lo. You will be missed.

Aside from all of the positive comments and anecdotes that you will no doubt hear about him through everyone that knew him, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the Lo family:  I cannot imagine the suffering that you’re going through right now, and the only solace I can truly offer is knowing how many Cornellians have such bright and fond memories of Brian.

With a senior perspective leaving this beautiful place in a few weeks, I think we all need to realize how fragile we really are and how important it is to live in the moment.  Each day is a new day, and we should be grateful for every single one of them.

Brian — R.I.P., bud.  You were a great person and an awesome friend.  You’ll always be with us.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

The Final(!!!) Slope Week …

After months and months of waiting, here it is:  my final week of Cornell classes … ever.

It’s been a long time coming, but don’t mistake that for me saying that it’s gone by slowly.  My years in Ithaca seemed to have gone by at turbo warp-speed, and it’s beyond bizarre to think back to my first CTown party as a freshman, my first Hotelie class (with Dr. Snow, just FYI, so I hit the ground running), my first group project, my first time in Llenroc before I pledged, my first psych class, and too many other “firsts” to go through.  Never has it felt like such a contradiction, when experiences can seem like such a long and short time ago at the same time.

But Slope Week has finally arrived!  Like a good little senior, I have almost nothing to do (aside from a couple papers that I can cram), so I’m sittin’ pretty for the alcoholic destruction that will most certainly occur this Friday.  Llenroc will be the location of choice as always, with a graceful stumble up the slope to follow.  In case you haven’t heard, Nelly will be rockin’ the slope this year, so I’m really gonna try to remember this one (given my capacity to do so has dwindled since my freshman Slope Day) — especially since I use to bop down the road on the school bus, middle-school style, when Nelly was hot on the scene years ago.  Good times.

As you can tell, my desire (and to some extent, my ability) to give you academic updates has hit somewhat of a stopping point, so most of the info you’ll get from me from here on out will be purely senior-ish.  Only academic news I can give you right now is that I made the final decision a couple weeks ago to attend UC San Diego this coming fall for an Experimental Psychology PhD (not a traditional Hotelie move, I know).  Exciting news fo’sho’, and I’m thrilled especially about one particular thing that Ithaca really seems to lack from time to time; I wonder what that is …

UC San Diego academic building. Looks sunny, no? ...

Will keep you posted on my slow descent towards graduation at the end of May.  Here goes nothin’.

Monday, April 11th, 2011

The End is Coming.

One month to go until I leave this cornucopia of Ithaca goodness.  The days seem to be flying by at warp-speed, but it’s getting easier and easier for me to accept the fact that I actually have to pack my bags and head off to my future.  That being said, by being a senior myself and hanging out with quite a few of them in the past few months up until now, distinct (and hilarious) patterns emerge.  For lack of a better term (and really, the resemblance to this is uncanny) — ever heard of the 5 stages of grief?  Well, here’s what many Cornell seniors actually go through — although obviously a bit different …

  1. Denial = Classic avoidance of actually thinking about graduating.  When you ask the person about it, they just shrug quickly or say “I don’t know; I haven’t thought about it,” and run away from you like you have the plague.  I was here for a while, and it’s definitely a comfy place to be up until you hit your senior spring.
  2. Anger = Also very easy to see.  Lots of times around the Hotel School (and I think it’s similar in other schools at Cornell, too), seniors seem a little more edgy than their sophomore and junior counterparts when asked about anything post-May.  Case in point:  Overheard a conversation between 2 seniors at Terrace the other day that basically boiled down to one saying, “so why do you think so many people don’t have jobs yet?,” and the other huffing, “I don’t know, but it’s not what I want to talk about right now.  Not at all,” after which they dropped their food on the floor.  Yeah, I don’t wanna talk about it either.
  3. Bargaining = Kind of a unique one, but have you ever seen one of those seniors that gets the brilliant idea to start looking at Cornell graduate school programs in like February?  Bargaining, my friend.  “Oh wait, maybe if I go to a master’s program here, I can hang on a bit longer!”  Watch for it; you’ll see it.
  4. Depression = Not so much right now, but think about all those circles of last-semester sorority girls that start crying when they think about their freshmen year.  The senior frat dude that suddenly starts tagging old college photos on FaceBook.  The geeky senior guy that starts opening up old homework files from his intro courses “just to see what they look like.”  Mmhmm …
  5. Acceptance = Graduation Day is when this truly sets in, I think.  Cameras flashing, friends hugging, confetti popping … seems to be the only time in the process I can really see where people are happy about the prospect of leaving.  This seems pretty far away for me, but in my old man age, I guess I can see the personal fulfillment from saying that you actually survived this crazy place.

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Good, Bad, and Ugly.

Lots and lots has been happening since my last post — almost too much to keep track.  We’ll start with the good news, though; it looks like I will have a choice between PhD programs (*phew*) since I seemed to have somehow tricked these programs into taking me.  Yes yes, I am sneaky like that.  UCLA Anderson School of Management and USC Marshall Business School are the two latest acceptances (along with UC San Diego Psychology from before) that I can add to my tally, and it’s a fantastic feeling knowing that I have places aside from where a single acceptance would force me to go (and not that I know where I’m going at all yet, but yeah, options are good)…

Next, well, there’s always some kinda bad in Ithaca — and you could probably guess it’s due to the weather.  I don’t really remember the weather being this much of an issue in the 3 past winters I’ve trudged through, as this one seems to be a special kind of ridiculous.  The other day, I saw a pickup truck do a 360-spin right in the middle of the intersection near Campus Ave, and it just kept driving like nothing happened.   Now that’s Ithaca conditioning for you.  I know it might be a product of me being from upstate NY my whole life, but once you get over the “oh, that snow looks so awesome” phase, it seems to take me less and less time every year to get to the “I hate ice, sleet, snow, outside … and wtf happened to my coffee?!” phase.

But most importantly (and tragically), Cornell has lost another student to unfortunate and avoidable circumstances.  George Desdunes ’13 — from all accounts that I’ve heard — was an incredible person, and I find it sad that these deaths still find their way onto our campus and into the happy-go-lucky college student life that so many of us take for granted at Cornell.  The fact that the Cornell community continues to have to “reboot” itself after mourning is trying for so many, and the stress on the friends and families of these individuals seems incomprehensible for me to imagine myself enduring.  George was a fellow brother in the Greek fraternity system — a brother in SAE — so it hits especially close to home.  My best wishes go out to the friends and family of George; I only hope the strength of the bonds that he created at home and at Cornell can honor how good of a person it sounds like he was.

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Admitted!

Sorry that it’s been a bit since my last post, but the last couple weeks have been a whirlwind.  With PhD interviews, frat stuff, and oh yeah, classes, I’ve barely had a chance to bathe, let alone think about anything else.   In the last 2 weeks, I’ve flown back and forth to UC San Diego, University of Michigan, and I’ve had 2 phone interviews with other PhD programs.  Crazy times all the time it seems now.

Nevertheless, good news is *finally* rolling in!  I found out that I was admitted to the UC San Diego Psychology PhD this week, which is a fantastic program, so I’m very excited.

I will hopefully hear back from the University of Michigan Social Psychology PhD program this week on what my status is, so that wait will definitely be outright mental torture.  But I’m just glad I’m getting news back from places I applied (waitlisted at a couple of other places; other updates to come, I hope).

The insane thing about this semester so far — and this is probably not good to say — is how little attention I’ve been paying to my courses.  Like … none.  Notta.  Zilch.  Since I just finished interviews, I’ve just realized how behind I am, and I’m definitely in *holy crap, I’m screwed* mode.  Senioritis is the best medicine, though.  Takes the edge off for sure :D.

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Last Hurrah.

Here it is:  my last semester.  Um … holy crap! The cliche is definitely there, but I just really can’t believe that I’m a second-semester senior and that I’m almost at the finish line.  The sheer thought and reality that this is my eighth time starting a new set of classes is just downright baffling — and a little frightening.

Here I am, though, nearing that finish line — and I plan to do so with a bang.  This semester will not be a cake-walk for me for sure.  My main concern right now is getting into a PhD program, a couple of which I have to travel for multiple-day interviews in February which, needless to say, makes me somewhat nauseated just to think about interviews that last days.  And wouldn’t you know it — some interesting classes this semester!  I guess one of the jumbo benefits of being a second-semester senior is the freedom in your course selection, so I have quite a heavy PSYCH load coming my way (psychopathology, psych of emotion, human growth and development, research, etc.).

With all that said, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was bittersweet.  I love this place.  It’s cold, uninviting, and some people joke that it sucks the motivation right outta ya (which tends to happen after repetitive failure).  But Cornell is a tremendous place of growth, and looking back on my first day of freshman year, I am astounded at how much I’ve changed as both a person and student.  I’m sad and happy, scared and excited, and realistically optimistic.

So without any further or do:  My last act.  Should be a fun ride.

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Yawn Outside!

So this is a little overdue (and I do realize that I should be doing a nostalgic, poignant, “I can’t believe I just finished my last final of the semester”-type post) but I needed to write something about the Cornell Hotel School’s most recent foray into the mainstream media.

Mark Talbert is a professor in the IT/IS Department at the Hotel School, and he is the one that teaches the famed Friday lectures for HADM 1174 — Business Computing (basically another freshmen core course at the Hotel School that makes you want to cry in misery almost weekly).  If you haven’t been privy to this story already, during one of these lectures, Talbert apparently heard one of the students in an “overly loud yawn” that just sent him into one of the most famous tizzies that Cornell has ever seen.  And just in case you haven’t come across the now-famous YouTube video, here you go:  Cornell Professor Outbursts at a Student’s ‘Overly Loud’ Yawn.

Long story short, this thing spread like gangbusters.  First, it was around the Hotel School, then YouTube, then local news, and then, SOMEHOW, this ridiculous thing hit national news because we apparently don’t have anything more important to report on the U.S. national news than professors’ in-class tantrums (if you don’t believe me, here you go … again:  Professor Goes Nuts After Student Yawns).  My god, there’s even T-SHIRTS now!  Seriously?

And if you couldn’t tell from my subtleties already, I think this is pretty funny.  I mean, how does a friggin’ YAWN cause this much national commotion?  Sure:  He lost his mind in class.  And yeah, it was about a yawn.  Kinda funny.  But holy crap, is this really national news worthy?  I would even throw my support behind Talbert because let’s be honest:  We’re all tired in lectures.  I don’t think that I would be exaggerating to say that upwards of 95% of Cornell kids are extremely sleep-deprived — just a couple days ago, I walked right into a light-post on College Ave. while drinking my 24oz. CTB coffee because my eyelids felt like led blankets.  So making a theatrical event out of your yawn in the middle of lecture is unnecessary.  And rude.  Yawning isn’t like sneezing; it’s not like you have no control and just have to let loose that second on everyone around you.  Do one of those covert “silent” yawns like everyone else does, and shut up.

Cornell seems to be supporting Talbert as well, which I think is encouraging at least.  I think this has been dying down, but the whole trajectory of it was just insane to watch.

Anyways:  One of those end-of-semester posts to come.   Stay tuned :D

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

And Time Marches On …

I never thought that semesters could go by any quicker, but senior year has somehow upped the already warp-speed pace of this place a few notches.  I honestly have no idea where the time has gone, and it’s crazy that I’m almost to the point where I’m staring into the eyes of the recurring nightmare that is finals week that is coming up in a mere couple weeks.  Unreal, I say.

Nevertheless, along with all of the fun, stress, and sleeplessness that coincides with senior year, I realize that now is the time to provide some updates about what the heck I am actually doing with myself now that I’m getting to the end of my time at Cornell.  So, off we go …

What I’m Doing Now — Here’s the skinny:  I’m currently applying to PhD programs in Management (mostly stuff related to social psychology and business) to enter into after I leave the hill (well, ideally).  Definitely not the common path out of the Hotel School, but I am very interested in the idea of teaching and becoming a professor someday.  The only “rub” is the application process — it’s soooooooo long.  I’m almost done actually submitting the applications (finally!), but the next steps will be waiting to hear about interviews and open houses in late January and early February, and I won’t even start to get admission letters until mid-March.  So, the abridged version of what I’m saying is that I’m applying to PhD’s, and I will be dealing with it for awhile, so this won’t be the last time you hear of it.

What I Hope to Be Doing Later — PhD’s, really?  Already?  Well … yeah.  I’m applying now because I want to give myself the opportunity to go that route if it seems like the best fit.  I am also applying to more “normal” Hotelie jobs — i.e., mostly stuff that has to do with either restaurants or marketing because that is of the most interest to me — so, really, it just depends on how the cards fall in the coming months.  As a Hotelie, I would still love to work with a restaurant group or something, so we’ll see what happens with those interviews.  And if we’re really dreaming “big,” any chance I could do both (i.e., be a professor and own a restaurant on the side or something)?  I don’t know, as you can probably tell.  Not to worry though:  Those “cards” will be in the next few posts — updates soon (assuming senioritis doesn’t claim any more of my time :) )!!!

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