Spring Things

20140421_121531 20140420_174724   Slowly but surely, the dismal, wintry shades of brown are fading away, turning into greens and fresh blossoms on flowering trees. On any given sunny day in Ithaca, one is guaranteed to see someone, or many people, taking advantage of the weather and taking a few moments to relax outside. Perhaps the long wait to spring’s arrival in Ithaca makes spring a more savored and appreciated phenomenon than it is in other places.

A few fun things to do on campus in Spring:

1) Borrow a bike from BigRedBikes, conveniently located in Uris and Mann libraries and Appel. Feel the breeze and adrenaline from a downhill ride, bask in the warm embrace of the sun’s rays on a calm stroll around campus, or explore the less traveled corners of Cornell. I did this a few weekends ago with my friends, and it was one of the most refreshing, relaxing, liberating experiences I’ve had this semester. Yes, it was that enjoyable.

2) Visit the Cornell Plantations. Not only are the plantations unique and likely underrated or not talked about as much as they should be, they are the perfect spot for weekend outdoor exploration/picnics. They are a very walkable distance from central campus and it’s really not a bad idea to make a stop at the Dairy Bar before or after the trip.

3) Go to the Farmer’s Market. I wrote about a visit I made there in a previous post, and I stand by the fact that I could not say one bad thing about the Ithaca Farmer’s Market.

4) As pictured above, take a few moments to rest on the slope. In the winter, the slope represents a dreaded, dangerous, exhausting walk to class. In the spring, the slope is still an exhausting road to tread, but is at least worth the walk for the view and the grassy soft spots, perfect for viewing a sparkling and distant Cayuga lake in the morning, reading or napping on a sunny afternoon, unwinding and sunset watching in the evening, and star gazing at night.

5) Go stargazing! This doesn’t just have to be on the slope. One of my favorite parts about Ithaca is the view of the night sky. On a cloudless night, one can see countless stars. I’ve been meaning to make a trip to the Fuertes Observatory on North campus by the end of the semester, and I hope I get the chance to do it.

There is plenty to do and enjoy in Ithaca at this time of the year, plenty to give one a warm, happy taste of summer in between spring projects, prelims, papers, and upcoming finals.

Any Person, Any Study

20140409_192751I am currently pursuing an English Major and Business Minor. Most of my academic interests lie within the humanities and I haven’t taken a science class since the spring semester of Freshman year. Although I respect those who pour their passions into the STEM fields and I enjoy midnight studying in Duffield, and PSB, two new science buildings on campus, I really haven’t touched anything relating to the sciences in a long time.

All of this was true until this Wednesday, when I had the pleasure of attending an open lecture called “Engaging Diamonds in the Quantum Age”. I went with my friend, who is an engineer, expecting to feel out of place, expecting to strain to understand the content, and perhaps even feeling bored. But instead, what I found were a lot of intriguing themes and parallels to content that I’m familiar with as a student of the humanities. Prof. David Awschalom, the lecturer, spoke about fascinating topics such as the contrast between order and disorder in nature, and how to “use disorder and imperfection as a basis to do something different.” Order and disorder, harmony and imbalance, are all things that I’ve become familiar with exploring in several of my humanities lectures and discussions, and it was very intriguing to hear it being discussed in the context of science. Prof. Awschalom made everything understandable, not overly complex but not oversimplified, and I didn’t feel a stark disadvantage at being a minority, a non-science student, at his lecture.

This experience really reinforced the concept of Cornell’s motto, “Any person, any study”, to me. Especially after this attending this lecture, I will certainly be open to attending more of the many available lectures and events about topics not grounded in the humanities. I can confidently say that the learning environment all over campus is open, welcoming, and engaging. There are so many parallels between academic fields that I am hopeful to explore further throughout my Cornell career, and Cornell truly seems like the perfect place in which to do that.

Cornell Lacrosse

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On a clear, bright Saturday afternoon, Cornell played against Yale in a lacrosse game on Schoellkopf Field. This was my first time attending a Cornell lacrosse game. It was an impromptu decision, but one that I do not regret! The school spirit was palpable as students and spectators cheered from the bleachers against the sound of the band’s familiar Cornell tunes. This game was a nice reminder that school pride in our sports, regardless of whether or not one is involved in the sports community, does not have to end at Homecoming.

More Surprises

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Today while walking inside Duffield, I was filled with delight as I unknowingly encountered the Horticulture Club’s plant sale. Usually people host bake sales or tee shirt sales inside of our academic buildings, but I had never seen a plant sale before today.  I am glad I did.

Although I don’t have a green thumb, I find that a few plants can go a long way to making my dorm room feel more homely. Given the recent cold weather conditions, I think that I also enjoyed the reminder that eventually, spring will grace Ithaca.

The seller was very knowledgable and kind as she helped me choose my plants. I was impressed to learn that the Horticulture club grew all of these plants themselves.

I ended up purchasing a group of red, white tipped tulips, a fuzzy succulent, and a graceful, tall, yellow flower, all  of which are now happily perched on my dorm room’s windowsill.

 

 

Day One and Day Two of Second Winter

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20140313_161634Ithaca had a surprise in store (and not the good kind of surprise) for all of us who were deceived into believing that spring was at our doorstep. In the middle of March, Ithaca delivered a snowstorm and two days of bitter cold exacerbated by icy winds.

I’m happy to say, though, that today has been warmer. Although snow has been melting and flooding sidewalks and icicles have been violently making their descent from rooftops, I will not yet fall into the trap of getting my hopes up about spring’s warm arrival. But, from now on, I will surely be thankful for any bit of warm weather that we do have. It would surely make prelim season a bit more enjoyable!