As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon-don’t be afraid of them;
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon-you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
- by Constantine Cavafy
An appropriate Cornell sign-off – thanks for all of the memories and new potentials revealed!
“Look at what you love on graduation day. Take the classes, the friends, and the family that have inspired the most in you. Save them in your permanent memory and make a backup disk. When you remember what you love, you will remember who you are. If you remember who you are, you can do anything.” -Cathy Guisewite
“A Slice of the Pie of Life” is a phrase I heard recently that I thought would well fit this space. Upon viewing an interaction or interesting situation, one could say, “Now there is a slice of the pie of life.” Aptly, I hope, I’ve provided a slice of my – and Cornell – life for you to know.
It’s hard to believe two years ago, the Student Blogging Project was merely in the works of a way for students to gain more of a presence on cornell.edu. Through the incredible dedication of Lisa and her staff in Web Communications, this idea has become a viable and successful reality. Especially without you Lisa, we would not be here spouting off on Cornelliana. And thanks also to Tommy Bruce and the rest of the administration’s members who are brave enough to support a project where students can freely express their deepest causes or merely just run their mouths on the homepage – daily!
Thanks also to all the others who make Cornell what it is – from the maintenance staff to President Skorton, I can think of few places on earth where I’ve run into people who are more friendly, kind and consistently interested in other people’s well being (with a few notable exceptions from Long Island – I’m not a hick just because I’m from Ohio!) Appreciation also goes out to my professors, who have helped me to push the classroom beyond four walls to a global sphere.
I cannot express enough gratitude in this space for all of the communities that have made Cornell my second home. Many thanks go out to the MFCNS program, Tridelta and EARS for helping to shape my campus experience and providing endless support. To the CIVR staff (pro staff too) – I’ve never met people who are more fun to work with at 7:45 am – keep up the enthusiasm!
On a more personal note, a thanks to all of my friends (specifically, D6, the J. Mo Faithful, 410 Stewart and all of the others – you know who you are!) who have allowed me to make their lives public fodder in this space. You all are indispensable, and have helped me to become the person I am today in more ways than you will ever know. And of course, my family (especially Mimi and Poppy, my most faithful readers) for just being you. I am one lucky lady to have each and everyone of you in my life.
And of course, to my readers. I would be just one other narcissist in cyberspace without you!
And just in case you were wondering – I’m headed to Phoenix, Arizona, to start Teach for America in less than two weeks! I’ll be teaching elementary special education and completing my masters in special ed at ASU (but always cheering for the Big Red). After that, we’ll see where life takes me – or, where I can take it. It’s sure to be one exciting ride, and thanks for sharing part of it with me.
“Forward, forward – let us not disappoint the moon before us.” -Den Sute-Jo
Despite less than perfect weather, my friends and I have enjoyed spending the past week painting Cornell and Ithaca with Big Red spirit. Even though “senior week” is bittersweet with the “g-word” (as my friend Elana terms graduation) approaching, my chums and I have been living it up and making memories.
We’ve enjoyed time at favorite spots, including the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, a must see for anyone in the area. The food is phenomenal and you can definitely get a feel for Ithacan culture – even the boats parked near the market are aptly named to fit the flavor of this town!
I also conducted my last tour ever. Kind of sad, but it did include an alternate route; since all of my friends came on the tour, we decided to make a stop at the Dairy Bar for some ice cream!
Freshman and Senior Year Roommates on my last tour!
A highlight of the week included a wet afternoon on Lake Cayuga. My friend BC is quite the sailor and has been bugging me all semester to go out on the water with him. Procrastinating in true college student style, I waited until our last week here – 40 degrees and rainy. Nevertheless, BC, Alex and I braved the elements to enjoy a few hours bumping around on the waves.
First Mate Alex and Cornell up on the Hill
Alex and BC both have much more sailing experience than me (mast? line? boom? OUCH). BC was deemed captain (we were on his boat after all) and Alex first mate – I was demoted from second mate to deckhand during our trip. Maybe I should have taken sailing for a gym class . . .
First Mate and the Captain preparing The Rascal
Other events included a high ropes course, twilight cruise, wine tour and trip to the Commons, as well as several delicious meals out and evenings socializing. It’s been a wet week (pretty clear with raincoats in every picture) of firsts and lasts, but all in all, unforgettable!
“Let the good times roll” -The Cars
Study week is supposed to be the time when Cornellians stake out a spot in the libe and begin diving into the reading they haven’t done all semester.
However, in many ways, study week is actually the last fun party time before we all have 20 hour a day parties in Uris and Mann. This is Cornell – you know we work hard. But don’t worry, if you want, you also have the option to play too.
Pretty much ever extracurricular activity I’m involved with on campus plans some type of end of the year event – parties, formals, you name it. Oh yeah, and the campus wide celebration known as Slope Day (I touched the lead singer of Gym Class Heroes as he walked through the crowd!) as well as my birthday (I eventually made it out of Olin). I’ve provided some photographic documentation of the fun before we all become bald from pulling out our hair because of exams.
Slope Day/Birthday Brunch
On the Slope!
Tourguides gone wild!
Look who showed up at the Tridelta Formal – the little bro
“It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to . . .” -Lesley Gore
Yes, my big fat 22 b-day is in less than a half hour. And guess where I am?
Yep, I’m finishing a paper up about about democratic stability in the decentralized education systems of Switzerland and Northern Ireland. As riveting as this sounds, I think most would agree this isn’t the ideal recipe for one’s last birthday in college.
No fear though, I have plans to go to the Regent Lounge in the Statler after my last Cornell class EVER tomorrow at 3pm. It’s advertised as a place to, “unwind with your favorite beverage.” Case in point why you should go to a university with a school specializing in hospitality.
So cheers to birthdays and the last week of class Cornell. Currently I’m doing this with myself and my many caffeinated beverages.
“[Spring is] when life’s alive in everything.” -Christina Rossetti
All day long, I’ve been walking like a tourist with my head towards the sky, enchanted by the trees that were bare yesterday and today are full of pink buds. The campus smells gorgeous.
I’m sitting here behind McGraw Hall on a stone carved out with a seat just big enough for me and my little old laptop. Ezra’s behind us and keeping an eye on the Arts Quad while I watch the sun literally set across the lake behind the west hill.
Cornell is in bloom my friends, and it is beautiful.
“I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.” -James Joyce
I’ve wanted to take this class for a long time, and I finally worked it into my schedule this semester. As part of the course, we not only create our own pieces of poetry and prose, but we also edit our peers’ work and read the products of renowned writers.
We also attend readings by writers on campus, a type of function I’ve never experienced before this semester. I went to one recently and it was amazing to hear the authors tell their own stories and reflect upon what influenced their works.
An early assignment for the class was to compose a sonnet. Keeping in mind this style of poetry is often used in admiration of one’s love, I wrote my sonnet in honor of a delectable treat.
A Sweet Southern Sonnet
So tall and big, a fluffy giant mound -
A piece, I know will never go to waste.
The icing, soft on top, as if of down
It sparkles – gems with a sugary taste.
It’s South the Mason-Dixon where you hide,
Ruby with riches, pleasure but not health.
Forever, you’re on Paula Dean’s dear side.
You’re made with threads of satisfying wealth.
It flashes bright – a sharp arch nemesis
And plunging in, a cut so deep it bleeds,
A knife unwanted on the premises,
With exception – lovers of cake, it feeds.
A scrumptious forkful of red velvet cake,
Dessert of choice, none better could one bake.
After writing a love poem to food, I’m feeling like a hotelie.
“Still in your hour of need, / Let it be understood no man can supersede, / Our sacred bond of sisterhood. / Omigod! Omigod you guys!” -Legally Blonde The Musical
When looking at colleges, I was usually put off by schools sporting large Greek systems. With Animal House in mind, I figured anything this group had to offer would be a little over the top for my Midwestern, nerdy (and admit it – if you’re coming to Cornell, you’ve probably felt nerdy at least once) self.
When I came to Cornell, I never even realized how many students were involved in the Greek system. I met a whole range of Cornellians – engineers, athletes and international students – all involved in different houses. At Cornell, our Greek system is made up of three facets – the Multicultural Greek Letter Societies, the Panhellenic Association (sororities) and the Interfraternity Council (fraternities) and there really is a house for anyone who wants to be involved. We do a second semester recruitment at Cornell, which I think is beneficial because students have time to adjust to Cornell and decide if the Greek system is for them.
My brother Daniel and I at his Egyptian themed pledge party
I felt the Greek system was a good way to be involved on campus, so I decided to go through recruitment. Despite freezing temperatures and tons of snow, I actually found the process to be pretty fun. I liked meeting all of the different sisters and visiting each of the different houses.
The pledging process can be time demanding depending on the organization, but many students also enjoy it. Cornell has a very strict anti-hazing policy not only for Greek organizations, but all groups on campus.
Most Greeks choose to live in their house sophomore year, and sometimes upperclassmen do as well. All of the houses are scattered around campus, and many are quite large, historic and impressive. Most have their own chef who cooks dinner every night.
So what goes on in the Greek system? Last weekend, for example, I dressed up as Tinker Bell for the Tridelta (my house) invite party, one of our many social events this semester. The next evening the Deltas and I walked throughout the night to raise money for the American Cancer Society at Relay for Life. We also have intramural sports teams, dinners with professors and participate in a variety of Greek community activities – in fact, we won Greek Week last year!
When I say on tours that Cornell has “one of the largest Greek systems in the country” because of our size or that “about 30% of students are Greek,” it may seem like it takes over the campus. The Greek system is a large, active and positive presence on our campus, and it is important to note our organizations are very inclusive, not exclusive. Some of my best friends are Greek, some are not, and almost every student on campus would say the same. Those who are not Greek often take part in Greek activities, and vis versa.
The reality is that the Cornell Greek system is a great way to find a community at Cornell with common interests. But guess what, there are endless other ways to also find a community to live in or be part of on our campus, such as the hundreds of student clubs, co-ops and program houses.
“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this – decide what you want.” -Ben Stein
Congrats! Welcome to the wonderful world of Cornell. I know when I received my acceptance I felt excited, nervous, happy and unsure. Was Cornell the right choice for me? How would I make my decision?
Here is my advice.
Think! Explore! Discuss! Surf (the web – or ocean if that is a possibility). Smile – don’t take yourself too seriously, you ivy leaguer you! And come to Cornell Days if you can (what ultimately made me decide Cornell was right for me). Oh and check out this blog! I’ll be posting many entries in the coming days about all of the Cornell info that can seem befuddling as an incoming student. But be sure to let me know if you have any specific topics you’d like me to address!
And most of all . . . Welcome to Cornell!
“Imagination has a great deal to do with winning.” -Mike Krzyzewski
No, I’m serious. Check out Inside Higher Ed‘s Academic Performance Tournament for all of the details. Look who’s crying now Stanford!