10 Must-Haves for Your Dorm Room

Whether you will be an incoming freshman or have gotten through a year or 2 here so far, here are 10 items that are must-haves for any dorm room:


#10: A soft, warm blanket- dorms can be drafty and Ithaca is super cold

#9: Colorful bedding- it will cheer you up as soon as you walk in after a long day

#8: More than one towel- laundry costs money and you don’t want to be doing it more often than you have to

#7: 1 pot and pan- sometimes you may want to heat something up

#6: a bowl- you may not always make it to the dining hall and soup and cereal are useful

#5: scissors- you will ALWAYS be looking for scissors

#4: a fork, spoon and knife- you can get these from the dining halls, but I didn’t tell you that

#3: Post-It Notes- I’m not sure why but they make me feel organized (this probably shouldn’t be #2)

#2: a black sharpie- write your name on EVERYTHING you care about

#1: a cute mug- #teatimeismetime


Let me know what you have in your room that you can’t live without!

Want to Join Us?

Have you ever thought about being a student blogger?

A few semesters ago my roommate said she heard applications to become a student blogger were posted. She thought I’d be great at it and I decided to go ahead and apply. It has been a more fulfilling experience than I could have hoped for! And this upcoming year Life on the Hill will be accepting grad students too! What a great idea! Many of us will be graduating, so there is no better time than now to join Life on the Hill! What are you waiting for?!


Want to tell your Cornell story? Apply to the Life on the Hill blogging program at http://www.cornell.edu/studentlife/blogs/.

Applications due April 12th.

The Importance of Leadership Roles

When you first come in as a freshman, it is so important to explore all of the extracurricular possibilities on campus. Many freshman sign up for a bunch of clubs at Clubfest and then determine a solid 2-3 to stick with and drop the rest. It is ok to bounce around and try new things throughout your years here, but I think it’s super important to have something that is constant; something you can really invest your time in and build upon. It will not only give you something to look forward to outside of your school work, but it will also allow you opportunities for leadership roles.

Many people think of leadership roles as resume builders, but please realize that taking on a leadership role will mean giving up more of your time and energy. So when thinking about applying for a leadership role, make sure that you are personally invested in the mission of the organization and that you understand you will have to learn to balance your time well between the organization, homework, your social life, and your job. If you can do that, taking on a leadership role will be very rewarding!

Applying for a leadership role, especially when you know that several other people will be applying for the same position, can be intimidating. But what is the worse that can happen? You don’t get the position. Does that make you less smart or less worthy? Absolutely not! You just keep moving forward and gaining experience that will better prepare you for the next leadership opportunity. Don’t give up, especially after the first try. You won’t regret it!

Here are some tips to help you feel less anxiety while applying for leadership roles:

  • First, really weigh the pros and cons of taking on the particular role. Do you really have the time? Will other aspects of your life suffer? Do you fully understand the mission of the organization and the duties of your prospective role?
  • Start applying early. Do not wait for the night before the deadline. This will only bring on more anxiety and you will feel doubtful as to the quality of your application.
  • Don’t be afraid to highlight your accomplishments and your skills. Relate any previous experience you have to the requirements and qualities listed in the posting description. Remember, you are not applying for The Humble Award.
  • Do the best you can and then once you send it in release it from your mind. Do not think about what you could have done or what you forgot to say. It is over now and there is nothing you can do, so let it go.
  • Keep an eye open for other opportunities to keep yourself positive and occupied!


Good luck!


Relationship Series: On Campus Love

We talked about long-distance relationships so now it’s time to talk about having a relationship on campus. In my opinion, this can sometimes be more difficult than long-distance. I have experienced both situations throughout my years here at Cornell, so I will try my best to give you some “do”s and some “don’t”s. But first, here are a few common scenarios:

Scenario #1: The Clingy S.O.– This significant other is the type that wants to go everywhere with you. He/she is constantly texting you from the moment he/she wakes up to the moment he or she goes to sleep and expects you to be available. This S.O. cannot understand why you need some time with just the “guys” or “girls” without him or her. This S.O. wants to eat together, study together, walk to and from class together, coordinate schedules, and basically smother you. Watch out for this one, and don’t be afraid to be honest about your need for space.

Scenario #2: The Drama-Creator– This significant other is the type that causes other people to talk about your relationship. He or she cannot go out the night before without you hearing buzz about it the next day. This S.O. has you constantly questioning how you fit into his,her life and often serves as a distraction from what you really need to be doing. This S.O. probably pushes you past your comfort zone in an array of areas and probably doesn’t even know what you want to be when you grow up. Yeah he/she is smokin’ hot, but you are an amazingly well-rounded woman or man who worked hard to get into Cornell so you could pursue so much more than finding a prospective mate…correct?

Scenario #3: The Supportive Motivator– Not perfect because he/she is human, but always there for you. This S.O. listens when you want to vent but doesn’t probe you for info when you aren’t ready to talk about it. He/she asks you how an assignment is going to gently remind you that you are indeed a student. This S.O. is excited for you when great things happen and remains positive when you feel like a dark cloud is following you around all week. He/she knows just what to say by the look on your face and always shows up with food. Yeah, in the words of a kid in the 90s, this S.O. is “all that and a bag of chips”!

Now for my dos and don’ts on how to relationships work for you in college:


  • Be honest. If something is not working for you, say it up front. No one is a mind reader.
  • Be the partner that you want. You can’t expect to have Mr./Mrs. Awesome if you are not bringing it too.
  • Remember that you are a student first. Your parents aren’t paying you to fight with your S.O. now are they?


  • Entertain long, drawn out, passive aggressive fights. Identify the issue, decide whether or not it can be fixed or if you can look past it, and then do something about it. You have enough stress! Do not waste time.
  • Forget about your friends. Make sure that you always make time for them. They were your friends before you got an S.O. and they will still be there when he/she is gone.
  • Lose track of who you are. It feels easy to let yourself get wrapped up in your life with your S.O., but don’t focus so much on the “us” that you forget you’re an individual. Set aside alone time for yourself and make sure your S.O. is taking part in things that interest you.


And that concludes the on-campus part. If you have any questions or just want to share your stories I would love to read them!!! If you haven’t read the first part about long distance click here.


My 5 Major Misconceptions of Cornell

There are five main misconceptions I had about Cornell both before I started and during my first year here. You might think some of the same things so I want to share the realities!

Misconception #5: It’s only week 3?! I feel like we have been here for months already! The time is going by so slowly!

Truth: At the beginning of every semester it seems like it will take just about forever until it’s over, but believe me 4 years go by like nothing!


Misconception #4: The campus is so big I’m going to get so lost!/I want to see all of the campus but it’s just so big!

Truth: It does seem too big to handle at first, but once you get used to your schedule it becomes a breeze. This is especially true since the campus is broken up into quads, which makes it more manageable. Don’t be afraid to explore! For example, if you aren’t an engineering or computer science student, don’t be afraid to explore the Engineering Quad! They have some of the most beautiful buildings! And the study spaces are always so nice and quiet (if you can find space)!


Misconception #3: There are so many choices! Even if I do settle on what to study there are so many options… What if I chose the wrong one?

Truth: Yes there are tons of options when it comes to choosing a major. And yes, choosing one by the second semester of your sophomore year is a bit intimidating. However, when you know you know. And if you end up choosing a major and then realize you don’t enjoy it once you get further into the course work there is no chain holding you there! You will just have to make some adjustments. With a good advisor by your side you will be just fine!


Misconception #2: Man freshman year was hard! Thank goodness that’s over. It can only get easier from this point forward!

Truth: Wrong. So wrong. I am a senior now and I have never had a more difficult semester than I am experiencing right now. Expectation are higher, course work is heavier and more difficult, and responsibilities in extracurricular activities and at work grow exponentially it seems! And you have to balance this with your crazy social life because you are trying to get everything in you ever wanted to do before you graduate. AND there’s studying for and taking the GRE, applying for internships, applying for jobs, etc. But guess what? The results of your hard work just get more rewarding the farther along you are.


Misconception #1: It’s awesome that I get to meet people from all over the country and all over the world, but it will be difficult to maintain those relationships since we live far apart.

Truth: This could not be more wrong. With the technology we have today?! It’s super easy! And you get to plan awesome trips to go visit your friends! Many of my friends have graduated and I still talk to them! Once I graduate it won’t be any different, and I cannot wait to start planning some road trips!


Starting out in a new place always brings negative thoughts to the mind, but don’t worry! Just stick in there and believe me you will realize how wrong you were eventually 🙂


A Must-Take Class

For many of us college is our first time away from our parents. We get here, we get a job, and we have to juggle all the wonderful options tmoneymanagementhat money gives us access to. I am mainly talking about online shopping. It is REALLY hard to manage your money well when you do not even know where to start. Isn’t it funny how even the most taboo of topics have become common place in our conversations but the topic of money is still avoided? Deciding to take HADM 3200: Personal Finance Management this semester is my attempt at trying to figure all of this out. Internalizing money questions and issues instead of reaching out for help can lead to a lot of stress and health problems. As students we are already racking up a good amount of debt that will hit us eventually, so why not develop good habits now so we can handle it later?

Professor Strebel breaks down intimidating terms and formulas into information thmoneymanagement2at is accessible, and then he makes sure that you understand it in terms of your own life. He even meets with each student for 15 minutes to understand your personal goals and he assigns a few exercises so that you can tease out your goals and create an actual plan that you will stick to and execute. My main goals are to (1) create a budget for myself that I can stick to, and (2) start saving money.Our first prelim is coming up on Wednesday so I am a bit nervous, but the important part is to leave this class knowing the information well. I will check in with you guys at the end of the semester to let you all know the final verdict on the course!



Relationships Series: Long Distance

Welp, my boyfriend fell asleep on me again. I know he’s tired after a long day of work, and he’s a teacher so I can only imagine how exhausting that is! I am not mad at him, I just wish I could be asleep next to him rather than on the other side of the phone listening to him snore. I wish I could say that this is uncommon, but it happens quite a bit. He just told me today how much he hates falling asleep on me. With the stress I feel here and all he has to do there I am surprised we don’t get into daily fights! We don’t fight at all actually, but that’s just because he’s super awesome. My last relationship was also long distance while I was here at Cornell, and that was awful. We fought a lot, and I could tell the trust issues were getting the best of us. These two relationships were very different, the guys are very different, and I felt very different being in one relationship compared to the other.

This is the guide for relationships in college, and I am going to start off with long distance relationships. Mostly all college students have experienced them whether as freshmen leaving significant others back home to come to Cornell, as a transfer with a significant other at your old school, or an upperclassmen who has met someone special at an internship or visit to another city or school. Sometimes it’s a weird mix of a few of these things. Now I’m definitely not an expert on relationships, but I will share my experiences. I’m going to start off with a few of my personal scenarios and then get into the dos and don’ts of long distance relationships in college.

Scenario #1: I was a freshman and my boyfriend was a senior. We both were here at Cornell. He graduated and moved back home to Alabama. I live in Connecticut and never even pass through Alabama. I guess you can see the issue here. We tried for almost 2 years after he graduated and it just wasn’t working. Very hard decisions were made. I didn’t get over it for like 2 years and now I look back at it and want to smack myself for being so heart broken.

Scenario #2: Junior year I lived with my best friends off-campus and I had a boyfriend at home in Connecticut. I got to see him a good amount because I went home for breaks. He was kind of insecure about our relationship and felt I had so many options here that he didn’t even trust me to walk outside. For anyone who knows me I am super independent and I would normally never stand for this, but for some reason I stayed in this relationship for almost 2 years (started before junior year). I finally had the courage to end it and it is, to date, my proudest moment. It really was a game changer for me. I didn’t like who I was in that relationship.

Scenario #3: Now. The present. I am here at Cornell, my home is in Connecticut, and my boyfriend is in Ohio. I met him while I was working at an internship over last summer. He is the most wonderful person I have ever met and I have no problems with this relationship. I love who I am in this relationship and I can appreciate the trajectory I can foresee with him. I already planned on moving to Cleveland when I graduate and I will be there this summer doing another internship, so it seems to be working out pretty well.

Now for my dos and don’ts on how to make long distance relationships work for you in college:


  • Work on communication. Talk to your S.O. every day in different ways (pick up the phone, don’t always just text!) Learn how to be vulnerable and share things you’d rather just keep to yourself. Make your partner feel involved in your life here. Communication really is the key, as cliche as it may sound. If you cannot hold a conversation with your S.O. then get rid of him/her! Seriously…
  • Listen. Don’t just dump your day’s worth of woes on your partner. Make sure you listen to what excited him/her throughout the day. Ask questions!!!
  • Exercise common interests. Do you and your S.O. love to watch the same show? Make a thing out of it! Get snacks, cozy up, and watch the show while on the phone together! All of your gasps and “Noooooooooooooo!” comments will be heard just like old times.


  • Ignore texts/calls. If you’re out having fun with your friends, let your S.O. know and check in with him/her to let you know you miss them and wish he/she was there. If your S.O. continues to hound you or shows signs of disrespect, dump him/her!!!
  • Play the blame game. Forget who was at fault and talk about how you felt instead. Do not go to bed angry and just fix it! If your pride has to take a hit to smooth things over then so be it. You’ll get over it. If you are constantly the one saying sorry and letting your S.O. get away with crap they shouldn’t be getting away with… DUMP IMMEDIATELY.
  • Put their problems in a hierarchy with your problems. Yes, your S.O. may not go to Cornell and he/she may not truly understand what you’re going through, but that gives you no right to belittle his/her problems. Your partner’s problems really are problems in his/her eyes, so treat them that way. Be sensitive. Be compassionate. Be genuine.

And that concludes the long distance part. Next in the series will be about having a partner on campus. If you have any questions or just want to share your stories I would love to read them!!!

Is This Real Life?

During pre-enrollment I always think I have my life together. I get up nice and early on the first day and get all of the classes I want and put a plan together so my next semester runs incredibly smoothly. Then the day after my pre-enrollment slot closes I always want to make little changes to my schedule (but I can’t since my slot closed). Then while I’m waiting for regular enrollment to come I end up overhauling my entire schedule a thousand times. It’s a vicious cycle and it definitely just happened to me again.

This time I finally created the perfect schedule. I start at 11:15am every day (my daily language class) and then my four other courses are more like seminar-style so they are only once a week! Crazy right?! And to graduate I need 16.5 credits this semester and 16.5 credits next semester, so I split it into 17 and 16. Unfortunately, one of the classes for my perfect schedule was closed when I tried to enroll. It is a class I desperately need right now: Personal Financial Management. In December I will be graduating and moving to Cleveland, and it is my New Years Resolution to learn good financial management so that when I move I will have money saved, a budget to keep on, a better credit score, and I will be starting the next chapter of my life on the right foot. I tried emailing the professor for the course to see if I can get on a wait list of sorts but I still have not received a response. I added a different class (that would start my days at 10:10am MWF) but I was not very happy about it and my credits were brought up to 18.

I decided to be persistent and keep checking student center to see if the class had any openings. I checked day and night and that blue square (the symbol for closed) kept haunting me. I had started to come to terms with my not-so-perfect schedule and tell myself that I could try again next semester if it’s offered. Finally I woke up this morning and decided to check again…. GREEN CIRCLE?! COULD THIS CLASS REALLY BE OPEN RIGHT NOW?! Indeed, I was able to add it and drop that other class. My perfect schedule is now mine. I keep checking my student center to make sure I am enrolled in all of the right classes and times that I’ve laid out on Chequerd. *Deep breath* This semester is going to rock!

Last Week of Classes & Finals Week

It’s funny how what feels like the best thing in the world is immediately followed by the the dark days. The last week of classes went by really fast. It was all a blur. A blur of excitement! Unfortunately now that it is over there is only one thing standing between me and going home: finals (dun dun duuuuuuuuuuun!). I have my Swahili final on Monday, my 12-15 page term paper for Hunters & Gatherers due Friday, my presentation for the Art of Teaching also on Friday, and then finally my Archaeology of North American Indian final the following Wednesday. I also have to hand in my rewrites for two papers for the archaeology class before the final. My last post on Facebook said exactly how I’m feeling about all of this: “Feel like I’m slightly drowning in all this work but I am doggy paddling for my life at the moment! Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!” There are times when it gets really overwhelming here, but the feeling you get when it’s all over is truly priceless! I can picture myself and how I will feel when I’m finally holding my Cornell degree in my hands. I do strive to create work I can be proud of, and I’ve had to realize that I’m going to have off days, or sometimes even weeks. There will be times when my professors do not think my work is as awesome as I do, and that’s ok. What is important is that you always do your best while you are here and realize that you are only human and so is everyone else.

During finals weeks it is imperative that you take time for yourself as well. I am following along with a book of weekly lessons and it has really been helping me out. Each week you are to read the lesson and then incorporate it into every day experiences for the rest of the week. Part One, which consists of the first eleven lessons, is all about being good to yourself. The lessons are: Be for Yourself, Take in the Good, Have Compassion for Yourself, Relax, See the Good in Yourself, Slow Down, Forgive Yourself, Get More Sleep, Befriend Your Body, Nourish Your Brain, and Protect Your Brain (from Just One Thing by Rick Hanson). Here at Cornell no one holds your hand and helps you through rough times. You have to learn to be there for yourself just like you would be there for a friend. In this lifetime your body and your mind are all you have to keep you going, so you need to do your part in keeping them happy and healthy. This is especially true during times like finals when you usually put yourself on the back burner in order to press through. You can ace your finals AND treat your body with kindness. It really is possible! It’s just all about finding that balance. So good luck with finals if you are a current student, and if you are a prospective student remember this for when you are here taking your finals!

The Light at the End

It seems like whenever there is a break coming up the professors pile the work on. You have to jump through fiery hoops of death to get to the sweet sweet freedom of going home and seeing your parents. Thanksgiving Break is 2 weeks and a few days away and I am so excited!!! I had to write 2 papers this week and this coming week I have to start working on another paper and a final presentation. As we approach the end of the semester I just become more and more grateful for the opportunity to be here and I reflect on the experience I’ve had thus far. There are so many classes I never got to take, so many places and events I never got to go to… But I think I did make the best of my time here and I look forward to the 2 semesters I have left.


An update: I totally forgot about the deadline to become an ambassador for my college. It was at 11:59 that Sunday and at 12:01 I popped out of bed and remembered. Oh well, it was probably for the best. I have been SOOOOOOOOO busy and it would’ve added more to my plate. Also, I am indeed going to pick up a minor. I tried for Cognitive Science but the intro class doesn’t fit into my schedule. I found out that I already have 2 classes toward the Information Science minor and more classes toward the minor easily fit into my schedule for next semester. I’m going to go for it! Lastly, I know it’s only November but here at Cornell we are already thinking about how we are going to spend our summer. I really would like to do the Summer on the Cuyahoga program I did last summer. The site went live on Friday so there are some internships posted already and more will be added throughout the winter. I am VERY excited. I will continue to update you on that.

True Stories of a Cornell Student