Stage Right (introduction)

Among my better decisions since coming to college: joining pep band, being a part of AAIV, deciding to be a ChemE, and joining the workforce of America.  There are kind of interesting stories about both my first and second jobs.

I did not get the first job I applied for.  When I submitted the application, I knew that I’d only be contacted if they were interested in hiring me, so I waited about a week.  When I did not hear back from them, I figured I should start looking at other job listings to see if there was anything I was interested in.  I didn’t particularly want an administrative position; I only know the answers to obscure questions like “Which two countries have an x in their name?” and never anything obvious like “Where is the library?”  Plus, the only reason I can alphabetize anything is that I keep my pep band music in alphabetical order.

I had a mostly filled out application for Cornell Dining, but it was for the dining hall on North Campus that I rarely went to.  So I was going through job listings and was going to ask about jobs at the dining hall the next time I was there, but then the following happened.  I think it was a Saturday morning and I was going through emails in my inbox when I opened an email from Denice Cassaro.  Emails from Denice Cassaro are sent out to North Campus residents, summarize events happening at the service centers on North Campus, and make overwhelming use of comic sans and colors like fuchsia and periwinkle-turquoise green.  People go to great lengths to unsubscribe to these emails.

Personally, I’d scan through the emails to see if there were any events going on that I happened to be interested in (the answer was either no or I had a prelim during the event).  And in this particular email I found a job listing for Cornell Productions.  They explained that they were a student-run group that set up sound and lights for events around campus.  No experience necessary.  I was interested, and I had no experience, so I applied.  And got a job.

After working for Cornell Productions for a couple months or so, I was on the Cornell Life on the Hill page for some reason and noticed they were taking applications for student bloggers for the fall semester.  I’d been writing  a blog for a few months at that point so I looked into applying to blog for Cornell.  I mean, it was something I was already doing for fun, so why not see if I could get paid for it too?

The application had me write some sample blog posts and answer a few questions about blogging in general.  I’m not a very fast writer, so the night before the application was due, I was still working on it (homework may have had a hand in that as well).  I tried to finish it that night, but it was getting late and the deadline was technically the next morning.  So I went to bed and finished the application in the morning.  I actually kind of forgot about the application until I got an email congratulating me on being chosen as a blogger.  I guess my blog posts must be better than my essays.

Anyway, the post I meant to write was about some of my recent work for Cornell Productions, but it turned out to be able how I got hired, so tune in sometime in the near future to hear about what I’ve been doing at my other job.

Finally, the two countries with an x in their names are Mexico and Luxembourg.

161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do, #92

#92. Hike in one of Ithaca’s beautiful parks

As an engineer, I have the ability to be busy enough to effectively not have had a day off for the past two months or so, and yet open up Microsoft Word and have no idea what to blog about.  There are a couple plausible explanations.  One: no one wants to read about using liquid-vapor equilibrium in a distillation column to mass balance benzene and toluene, normalizing wavefunctions, or calculating 500 determinants.  [Note: If anyone actually wants to read about any of the above topics, comment or email me.  I’ll see what I can do.  I was told I could write about anything . . .]  Two: I’m an engineer.  The most words I usually see in one place are in my own blog posts the classical literature I read in my spare time the textbook for my liberal studies class.

How this relates to the item in the 161 Things I’m actually here to discuss, I don’t know.  I don’t think it does.  But I’m writing this because I couldn’t figure out which of the other events in my extremely exciting life I wanted to write about.  Plus, I have pictures for this post.

So . . . I’m not a city person.  Some of things I liked best about New York City when I visited were Central Park and the Museum of Natural History.  I guess it’s a good thing I came to Ithaca, because the closest thing we have to a skyscraper is the clock tower.

One of my favorite activities is hiking, and with three state parks within twenty minutes of campus, as well of miles of trails sidewalk on Cornell’s own campus, there are a number of opportunities to go hiking.  Now, if only someone with a car would drive me . . .

Anyway, recently I’ve been at Buttermilk Falls and Taughannock Falls with my hiking class.  I’ve been to Buttermilk a few times before, but I think last weekend the falls had the most water I’ve seen.  The leaves were also changing color, which was something else different; I’ve done most of my hiking in the middle of summer.  We hiked the Gorge Trail, connected to the Bear Trail and looped around Lake Treman, then returned via the Bear Trail and the Rim Trail.

Buttermilk Falls.  The sunspot makes it look artistic, right? . . .

Taughannock Falls was a new state park for me.  After having our usual picnic lunch by the lower falls, I think we took the Gorge Trail to the upper falls.  (Pretty much every state park in this area has at least two trails, named 1) the Gorge Trail and 2) the Rim Trail.  If you’re feeling especially pressed for names, you can split the Rim Trail up into the North Rim Trail and the South Rim Trail.)  The upper falls have a height of 215 feet, which is indeed higher than Niagara Falls, which has a height of around 170 feet.  We were informed of this fact by one of our instructors and my parents wouldn’t believe me.

I’ll leave you with this picture.


Buzzword around these parts is busy (which completely explains why I have played 1871 1873 games of Minesweeper*).  This isn’t an advanced case of procrastinitis** speaking; I generally only procrastinate on anything involving reading or writing with more words than numbers.  In the case of my writing seminars last year, I would do math homework due the next week to avoid writing essays.  This year I may or may not have turned in an essay fifteen minutes before it was due.  In my defense, that week I also had a prelim, math and physical chemistry problem sets, and I worked for Cornell Productions the night before the essay and p-chem homework were due.

The last part might have been my fault, but I scheduled work before I knew I’d have both the p-chem homework and essay to do that night.  Besides, there are only so many hours in a row you can yell at Mathematica (the program we use to do our p-chem homework).  On the plus side, my newfound familiarity with the Greek alphabet is helping me to differentiate between all the fraternities on campus.

So for me, a typical week at Cornell goes like this: classes every day from nine to one, afternoon classes a couple days, an afternoon/evening break, then other activities.  I have pep band rehearsal once a week, and now that hockey season has started, games on Friday and Saturday nights.  AAIV meets twice a week, once for small group (like a Bible study) and once for large group (singing/prayer/a speaker).  Depending on the week, I may also have a Cornell Productions shift.  This semester, to cap things off, I have a prelim just about every single week.

On the weekends, I’ve been having hiking on Saturdays, but now that that’s ended, I’ll have more time to go to pep band events.  Which is to say, I’m probably not going to have any more time than I did while I had hiking for seven hours every Saturday.  Sunday mornings I go to church, and in the afternoons I’ve been playing soccer for my house (dorm) team.

A question concerned parents and/or students may now have is, when do I do my homework?  The answer is never at midnight on the day before assignments are due during the afternoons and evenings while I efficiently manage my time, in between saving the world from intergalactic space aliens and curing life-threatening diseases.  Seriously, though, this semester has managed to eclipse the insanity level of anything I experienced last year.  Either that or it was so traumatic I blocked it out of my memory.  Anyway, I do work between classes when I have longer (at least an hour) breaks, in the afternoons after class, or yes, late at night.

That’s when you become very glad you live near friends taking the same classes, because you can bond over shared experiences of hard work, perseverance, and determination suffer together.

*On a related note, someone messed with the Minesweeper algorithm somewhere between Windows Vista and Windows 7.  The whole point of Minesweeper as a logic game is that after a few clicks, you can definitively determine the location of every single mine.  Which means you should never end up with this (look along the left side of the picture):

I mean, come on.

**Not an official medical diagnosis