A Summer on the Hill

As the Fall semester steals away the lazy days of summer, I can’t help remembering when the most strenuous assignment I had in the first week of school was the typical “What I did over my summer vacation” essay assignment.  I remember dreading having to write about whatever it is I had done that summer; it was my form of “rebelling” against the injustice of missing out on the last great days of summer in exchange for being confined to a desk.

Now, when on the first day of classes I am guaranteed to see at least 4 formulas, 2 molecular structures, and at least 1 problem set of 20 questions, I wish all I had to do is write that essay.  So it is with extreme satisfaction that I give in to this nostalgic endeavor and bring to you “What I did over my Summer Vacation” (college edition):

“Number 31: Enjoy Ithaca’s two months of warm weather by spending a summer here” has finally been checked off! If you have no idea what I’m referring to, that’s alright.  Every year, the Cornell Sun publishes the “Big Red Ambition: 161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do” and I’m so glad I spent my summer up on the Hill! First off, I had an amazing internship as the Youth Education Intern at the Cornell Plantations.  As an Agricultural Education major I was looking for a practical, hands-on experience teaching and planning youth programs.  I was able to get that experience while also taking part in “Learning Mondays” where I and the 7 other Plantations Interns were able to learn skills ranging from Photography to Stone Masonry and from plant propagation to tree climbing. I walked away from the internship with amazing memories, great stories, and a much better understanding of the career path I’m looking for.

While my internship experience alone was noteworthy, I also had some more amazing experiences in Ithaca this summer! All I can say is two words: Dragonboat Racing! I know, you think I’ve completely lost it, but I swear, I’m not making this up! Here’s my explanation: It’s a sport consisting of a 900 lb wooden boat that is decorated like a dragon.  This boat is similar to a canoe except it is much longer so the 10 rows of seats can fit inside.  With two people to a seat, this boat of 20 skilled (or in my team’s case, amateur) oars-people must be completely in sync in order to complete the 250 meter race as quick as possible (if you want a more technical explanation feel free to check it out at: http://fingerlakesdragonboat.org/ ) With just three practices and a lot of enthusiasm it was no small accomplishment when our team (Tompkin’s County Extension) placed 3rd in our division.  While our final race of the day only lasted 82 seconds, the stiffness in my arms had me dragging them around like a cave-woman for at least a few days. It was an amazing experience…one that I’m hoping to repeat next summer!

Tompkin's County Dragonboat Team
Tompkin's County Dragonboat Team

From Green Dragons (a plant in the Plantation’s Wildflower Garden) to Dragonboats, my summer vacation spent up on the Hill was unforgettable!! I hope that the rest of the year can hold just as much excitement and adventure!