Cornell Hockey

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A few days ago, I went to my first hockey game. It was located in our very own Lynah Rink, and it was the Cornell vs. Colgate game.

Aside: I’ve been to Lynah Rink several times before this game in order to go ice skating. I recommend going ice skating in Lynah to both amateurs and experts alike, since it’s conveniently located on campus and an affordable, enjoyable activity. I strongly suggest getting in line early for Sunday night ice skating, although lining up early is likely a highly developed and frequently practiced skill for all Cornellians!

The main point that I wanted to mention here was that Lynah Rink completely transforms during Cornell Hockey games. The palpable, effervescent energy of school spirit emanates from the stands, which look like a sea of red (carnelian) and white, and sound like a roar of support and pride. Hopefully, I can let my photo and short video clip speak for this!

 

 

Snowy Ithaca

I won’t glamorize Ithacan winters. I much prefer the other seasons of Ithaca, the ones in which I don’t have to wear my body weight in layers, trek around solely in heavy but sensible footwear, and express caution with each potentially slippery step. Ithaca winters can be freezing, icy, windy, snowy, and sometimes unbearable. But except for the occasional threat of a falling icicle, the cold winters here certainly don’t come without their own charms, especially when it comes to snow.

Eagerly peering outside a class window to catch a glance of falling snow harkens back to my childhood and memories of small, crossed fingers praying for the magic voice from above to announce early school dismissals. At Cornell, snow doesn’t so directly indicate cancelled classes. Instead, it’ll more likely cause a rise of cheeky links to iscornellclosed.com to emerge on students’ Facebook feeds. But perhaps it still often carries unique, emotional, nostalgic, or pleasant effects for some people, even if those feelings are temporary. I definitely feel something when I see A.D. White (the sitting figure, the statue) wearing a tall white cap and cloak of snow.

The two pictures below are shots of the Arts Quad, hastily taken during a walk to class.

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The photo below is one that I thought has been more unique to my Cornell experience. One night, I was walking with a friend around Collegetown. We both immediately noticed that the snow didn’t appear like the ordinary, opaque, flat white layer on the ground, but rather, a sparkling layer of luminous dust and individual, glimmering specks. When we looked closer, each glittery speck was a uniquely shaped snowflake. It was as if the snow had been created directly from a textbook image of snowflakes, or as if each and every snowflake in the sky and on the ground had been cut out by a talented kindergartener during a pattern making activity. Absolutely breathtaking and fascinating. The ordinary snow we have become used to had been replaced by countless, seemingly limitless individual, intricately patterned snowflakes. The photo below shows just a few of these snowflakes that had caught onto my friend’s hood. Hopefully, the quality of the photo is good enough to reveal that the snowflake in the center is symmetrical, with 6 vertices. If the quality were even better, it would reveal the complex perforations and patterns within each snowflake, as well.

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I thought that after three Winters here, I would have run out of new sights and insights about snow. Snow is familiar, and I know what snow looks like. I was certain of that. I was clearly, but thankfully, wrong.

Only at Cornell?

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I spotted this sign while walking along Tower Road and the Agriculture Quad.

First thought: I didn’t think that I would have to fear for my overhead safety during my time at Cornell!

Second thought: Cornell can be very unorthodox and unique, but I find myself loving its quirks, especially the ones that look out for the many animals with which we share our environment.

 

The First Day…of the Spring Semester

It feels great to click the the “New Post” tab again and start typing. First, I’d like to apologize for my hiatus; I suppose things got quite hectic during Finals season, then during the Winter break, when I greeted the holidays as well as a lasting case of bronchitis.

Moving onto a happier and possibly more interesting note, I’d like to talk about the happy time of year that is the beginning of each semester. Now that I’m a second semester Junior and quite comfortable with the way that classes and Cornell works for undergrads, it’s much easier to navigate the path to graduation and general undergrad life than it was as an underclassman! I thought it might be helpful for some to see a brief timeline of my first day of the Spring semester. It outlines a fairly typical day, for me at least, except for the fact that it might have been a more relaxed day than the usual day in the middle or end of the semester, and that less time was devoted to assignments and work. Here’s my attempt to do something Benjamin Franklin might have done — with less precision, but no less fun.

8:00 AM: Wake up. Stepping (or rolling) out of bed after a long winter break may be difficult and even strenuous, but it’s certainly not so bad with the excitement of new classes and a fresh start. I toast a bagel for breakfast, and get ready for my first class.

9:45AM: I step out the door to chilly but not unbearable 15-20 degree weather, and make my way to the first class of the day: The History of the Universe. This class not only has an ambitious and unique title/course description, but also, it fulfills one of the Arts and Sciences College’s Physical and Biological Sciences requirements.

10:05AM: After confirming with some peers that the unlabeled room in front of us in the Space Sciences Building is indeed room 105, I walk in and sit for an intriguing first lecture. As with all classes on the first day of the semester, the professor made introductions of herself and the course, as well as outlined what the course would entail and explore as we delve further into it. Many people refer to the first day of classes as “Syllabus Day,” but most professors actually dive right into material and make the strong impression that they are both eager to teach as much as they can, and learn as much as they can from the course.

11:00AM: The class ends, and I head over to the library to get started on my first assignment, as well as do some book shopping. I recommend that students buy their books after the first day of class, because I’ve had several experiences where I’ve purchased books far in advance, then ended up dropping the class after only the first day or week, thus gathering a collection of unopened books. Dropping classes and course shopping a week or two into the semester is completely normal. Since the deadlines for adding and dropping classes at Cornell are far into the semester, there’s plenty of freedom for students to make sure that each class is a perfect fit for them.

12:20PM: By this time, I am sitting in my second class of the day, Intermediate Verse Writing. It’s absolutely wonderful, and I couldn’t be more excited to see how this class shapes me and my writing, as well as others.

1:15PM: The class ends, and knowing that I have to make the long trek from Goldwin Smith Hall, in the Arts Quad, to Myron Taylor Hall, in the Law School, I speed walk the entire way. Moderately breathless (if that’s possible), I weave in and out of several corridors before I find the correct classroom. I take a second glance, because the classroom is empty. Then, I notice a sign on the door that says the class will not meet at regular hours until the second week of school.

1:30PM: Following that abrupt change in plans, I head home to my apartment in Collegetown, which is a short walk from the Law School, eat a quick lunch, and eventually turn on my laptop to look for fitness classes through Cornell’s Fitness Class Membership. Interested, I begin walking to North Campus, Helen Newman Gym, in order to apply for the membership and pay my dues. I had never done this before, but it seemed easy enough, and I know that this could lead to more opportunities for me to exercise this semester.

3:30PM: By this time, I have activated my membership and I once again head back to my apartment. On the way there, I stop by Kraftee’s book store to pick up a textbook.

4:00 – 6:00PM: During this time, I do more organizing, such as looking at my current class schedule, looking at what classes I may potentially add or drop, and catching up with the e-board of the Cornell Vietnamese Association. Meetings and extracurriculars don’t necessarily end during winter break, and certainly do not hesitate to continue working at full speed once the semester begins.

6:30PM: I make my own dinner and eat it. I haven’t felt like I’ve needed a meal plan since moving off of campus, and I don’t have one. Cooking can often be more enjoyable and flexible.

7:00PM: I walk to Noyes Fitness Center on West Campus to begin my first fitness class, Barre class. I’m excited about this, because it’s been a few months since I’ve done anything related to Ballet. But, unfortunately, I come too late and the class has filled up before I can enter. Apparently, it’s a very popular class with a strict limit. I’ve learned my lesson to arrive much earlier next time. As for other fitness classes, I look forward to trying out different styles of Yoga and Zumba in the future!

7:15PM: I walk to Duffield, which is primarily an engineering building, but also a prime study space for my friends and I (most of whom are not engineers). It’s convenient to study there because not only is it fairly close to Collegetown and open 24 hours/7 days a week, but also it has fully equipped computer labs and printers, and plenty of open study areas, including much coveted (and often competitively attained) alcoves complete with tables, chairs, and dry erase boards.

10:00PM: I end the night early and walk back to my apartment. Ithaca feels like a safe community to me, and I believe that can be backed by numbers, so I haven’t had any issues walking home late at night. There are also resources like the bus (highly recommended) or the blue-light safety escort system, though, and sometimes even safety shuttles (during finals weeks) to reassure anyone wary of walking alone at night.

12:00AM: After a shower, some brief housing and internship searching, and a nightly read of the news/Tumblr, I’m ready to publish this blog post, sleep, and begin my second day of the semester. I have a vague idea of what it will look like, but just as with any day, what comes next might surprise me…and then I might even write about it, here.

 

Slope Studio

Cornell is like a friendly, quaint, small neighborhood in the sense that sometimes, all it takes is a knock on the door and a smile to get to know someone or something new. This is exactly what happened last Saturday, when I made my way downstairs in Willard Straight Hall and decided to enter Slope Studio for the first time.

Slope Studio is a new addition to the Cornell community that gives students a space to create art and learn new skills. Located in the basement of Willard Straight Hall, off of a narrow hallway, it feels like an island. It is closed off from the busy hustling of the outside world and tucked away in its own colorful, cozy corner. When I stepped inside of the space with a friend of mine, I was greeted by some kind artists and a student/teacher pair working on a colored pencil drawing. My friend and I were immediately welcomed to use any of the materials or spaces provided, with the only requirement being that we signed our names onto a sheet. We were then shown the the Slope Studio closet, which was stacked high with a wide array of materials, including easels, canvas, acrylics, sketchbooks, cameras, watercolors, and pastels. After looking around, we decided to grab a sketchbook and join the duo we saw at the table to for some colored pencil drawing.

Seated on tall chairs at the wooden drawing table, my friend and I spent about an hour and half drawing. It was a peaceful, freeing experience. I got the impression that if we wanted advice from the teacher or artists there, we were welcome to ask questions. But, if we just wanted to draw alone or enjoy a private creative space, we were also welcome to do so. I felt completely comfortable, and that can be credited to both the space and the people there. It was also refreshing to be able to use high quality art materials in any form or way that we wished. The sink behind us held a cup filled with soaking brushes and a white palette with colorful, watery paint still flowing through its crevices. This tempted me to touch upon some painting, as well, but I knew that I could not stay there all day, no matter how much I wanted to.

I left the studio with a drawing of a flower, and my friend left with a drawing of various facial parts. We both agreed to return to the studio in the future, and felt very grateful for the members of the Cornell community that made this space possible. In the next few weeks, I’ll be attending some of the classes that the studio offers. I’ve already got my eye set upon a hand knitting class offered next week! It’s opportunities like these that make me feel like “Any Person, Any Study” extends far beyond its literal meaning, beyond the classroom, and beyond bureaucratic borders at Cornell. For that, I am also very thankful.