Kitchen Disasters

I have lived in Sheldon Court for two years and during neither year did I make sufficient use of our floor kitchen (and for good reason). Floor kitchens are usually an all-or-nothing deal; you’re either the person who uses it all the time or the rest of the people who never use it under any circumstance. The dichotomy exists because (1) some students prefer and are able to eat out instead of needing to cook and (2) sometimes the students who do cook make the kitchen unusable for everyone else. The latter is why I don’t use my floor kitchen at all, and I am not happy about it.

Please do not leave your floor kitchen a mess. The people who live on your floor know that you cook there regularly and will suspect that the mess is your doing. In addition, you completely destroy the value of the commodity for the rest of us. Can you tolerate dirty dishes in the sink, a refrigerator filled with rotten or smelly food, an overflowing trash can, and dead flies all over the kitchen sink? Well, the rest of us can‘t. So stop it! Have some dignity and clean up after yourselves, you nasties…

It’s a guaranteed way to make a poor impression on the other people living on your floor. I surely don’t think highly of the few students on my floor who make a mess out of our kitchen. As a result, I have no motivation to be friendly with them and I just walk pass them in silence.

If you’re someone like me who gets grossed out cooking in an unclean kitchen, then I have bad news for you: you’re going to need to look elsewhere for food. Luckily, Cornell has lots of eateries right at your fingertips. Invest in a mini-fridge, toaster, and other appliances for your room so you can avoid the kitchen’s sketchy appliances, and consider off-campus housing if you can’t swing the costs of eating out all the time. Or, overcome your fear and conquer the floor kitchen. Scrub it down, cook quickly, and get out of there before the next wave of chaotic floor-mate cooking kicks in. It’s the only way.

Expresso Book Machine

The next time you’re walking through The Cornell Store, be sure to check out the Expresso Book Machine. You can’t miss it; it’s a large printing machine on the store’s top floor, next to Cafe Jenny.

It’s a special machine students can use to print books from the public domain or to publish their own writings. It costs quite a pretty penny, but you can print several copies of your own books at a price significantly lower than any other local publisher could offer. It’s a great opportunity, particularly for student writers. Plus, it’s a really cool initiative by the store to offer more activities inside the store. If you take a look around the machine, you can see the several books that have already been printed by students using the machine, as the Cornell Store offers students the opportunity to showcase their works there. It’s cool to see what projects fellow Cornell students have created and to support such initiatives on campus. I highly recommend checking it out for a few minutes on your next trip through the store.

To learn more about the machine and how you can use it, click here.

5 Things Cornell Students Should Stop Getting Mad About

Fellow students! I have a proposition for you. How would you like to be a little bit happier every day?

Wait, really? Because we could just stop right here then. Seriously, I’ve got places to be right now. If you already know this…

Well, tough luck. I don’t know you personally, and I can’t even assume you have the same basic needs, ethics, or priorities as I do. However, if that answer was a little disappointing for you, then I have one that might be a little better (and a little less cynical).

An easy way to be a little happier when you’re walking around campus is to identify some of the smaller peeves you have and to try to overcome your desire to flip a table whenever you come across those things.  I can think of a few times right off the top of my head, when I’ve seen my fellow students flip out over the smallest of inconveniences. If you’re one of these people, then I encourage you to take a chill pill and enjoy the happiness that comes with caring a little less about the small annoyances in life.

  1. Stop fretting about the food in dining halls. We know that Oakenshields is always a mess and that dining hall on West Campus never has food as good as that other dining hall on West Campus right next to it. We all know that it is impossible to get a good bite to eat early on Saturday mornings, and of course the lunch trucks will spell you diet’s doom. Just eat and be happy. You have more food options in Ithaca than most small towns in America have in combination. Can we not take joy in that variety and simply wait on line for five minutes to get that Sesame Chicken we both know you’re going to get anyway?
  2. Exams are not the end of the world.  You have been taking academic tests all your life and you have done just fine. If you’re any older than a first-semester Freshman, you have even survived Cornell’s rigorous exams multiple times before. You have even taken exams just to get into a college so you can take more exams! If you’re interested in law, you are quite literally in college preparing for an exam. Let’s not pretend that you didn’t see this coming. You knew there would be exams, and you know exactly how prepared you are for them. You also know that the only way to better prepare yourself for these exams is to stop complaining and start studying. So, unless your whining is a thinly veiled attempt to procrastinate because you are happier not studying for your exam than actually preparing for it, you have no reason to be tormenting yourself over this any more.
  3. The cold is your friend. I suffer from this issue, too. Ithaca can be extremely cold sometimes and it is very inconvenient for everyone. However, with a few layers of clothing, that cold isn’t going to get to you. Most likely, you’re uncomfortable and cold because you didn’t layer up properly. Don’t blame the weather; blame your closet. Then, go treat yourself to a nice new coat and scarf. Woo, consumerism!
  4. There are plenty of things to do in Ithaca. Ithaca might not be a bustling metropolis, but it is far from being the smallest town in America. There are plenty of things to do on campus and off campus. You just need to branch out, explore new means of transportation, and get a good group of friends with pleasant attitudes and open minds who wouldn’t mind going to new places or trying new activities. The sooner you stop insisting that there is “nothing to do in Ithaca,” the more quickly you will discover that you are just being too lazy to go out and find what Ithaca does have to offer.
  5. Online systems at Cornell. Orgsync for student organizations, the online platform for the housing lottery, the Oracle system for pre-enrollment–Cornell is riddled with third-party platform solutions for its most basic administrative functions and hardly any of them are as efficient as they could be. You’re going to be frustrated by poor server management, confusing website designs, and non-intuitive processes on all of these systems. However, the more time you spend on these systems, the more proficient you will become at navigating through them. Your complaints are falling on deaf ears; Cornell University cannot and will not get rid of all these systems any time soon. However, take solace in the fact that many generations of students have already discovered ways to take advantage of these systems and posted their knowledge on the internet. Google search it, my friends. You’ll be amazed.
Alright, so maybe I was being a bit condescending to my fellow classmates in a few of those categories. It’s a result of hearing my friends (and even myself) complain about these things one too many times. It would be nice if we could all overcome our tendencies to complain about the five things. The complaints are so common that they aren’t very necessary to make anymore.
So let’s endeavor to find new things to complain about; or, even better, let’s find peace with them and become a little bit happier for it. Either way, it’s a necessary change.

The Wizards of ADP

At the beginning of each semester, Cornell University has an “add-drop period” (ADP) during which students can swap out the classes they previously enrolled in to take up new openings in other classes. It’s a great opportunity for students to try out multiple classes before committing to any given schedule, and students who really want to take a particular class can snag open seats as less-interested students drop out. However, ADP can also be risky. If you’re not clever about, you can end up accidentally taking on classes you’re not particularly interested in or falling short on credits because the openings you were waiting for never show up.

I personally never risk my schedule with ADP. I try my best to settle my schedule during pre-enrollment, even if I can’t get the exact classes I desire. However, for some people, ADP is the only way to grab a seat in classes required for their major, minors, or concentrations. I also know plenty of students who are wizards at ADP and the system always seems to work out for them.

Pictured Above: Not Me.

Unfortunately, because I don’t typically add or drop classes during ADP, I don’t really have any valuable advice about how other students can take advantage of ADP. I can, however, point out some of the most common pitfalls:

  1. Even if you plan on swapping out your classes during ADP, make sure to grab at least 12 credits-worth of classes during pre-enrollment. You need those credits to be registered as a full-time student–a requirement for many scholarship and financial aid programs whose applications and deadlines might come well before the ADP.
  2. When swapping out classes during ADP, use the direct swap option. If you don’t, you run the risk of dropping out of one class just to find out that that spot you wanted in your preferred class has already been taken by another student during the time you took to remove the other course. Then, you’ll be short on classes in addition to losing out on your desired class. The direct swap option drops one class while simultaneously enrolling you in another class. This way is much less risky.
  3. Double-check which course you are dropping or adding before finalizing the switch. Many classes at Cornell University can have similar or confusing titles. For example, if you’re an ILR major and you need to fulfill your statistics requirement, make sure you’re signing up for ILR STATS and not PAM STATS, AEM STATS, MATH STATS, etc.. It will only take a second to double-check, but I’ve seen many students accidentally enroll for the wrong courses and correcting their mistakes gave them great grief.
  4. If you’re going to switch your classes, do so as early as possible during the semester. The longer you take to decide which classes you want to keep, the farther behind you will fall in work for whatever new classes you enroll in. In addition, you’ll run the risk of being unable to purchase the necessary textbooks and materials for your classes at affordable rates because other students will snag the best options online and at the Cornell Store. The alternative is to do all the work and purchase all the materials for every single class you are considering enrolling in just to be safe, and all of that work can be incredibly stressful to manage. 
  5. Keep track of when the ADP begins and ends. Once it is over, you cannot drop your courses without having a mark on your academic record saying you withdrew from the course. Although such marks are not the end of the world, it surely isn’t flattering to reviewers should you apply for scholarship or graduate study programs. An occasional withdrawal is no crime, but a string of such marks can be a red flag charging you with irresponsibility and flakiness. Those qualities are not ones you want to acquire accidentally. Furthermore, adding classes after the ADP is extremely difficult and almost impossible without the consent of professors and academic advisers, alike. Missing the beginning of the ADP can be equally damaging since you will miss the period when the most drops occur during the whole session and the opportunity to take up the newly opened seats in your favorite classes. Avoid all these dilemmas and keep the ADP clearly marked in your calender and/or agenda book. It will save you a lot of trouble.
  6. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get into any class if you simple wait long enough during the ADP. Some of the most popular classes at Cornell University will have incredibly long wait lists from which the professors will draw on first when students drop their classes during the ADP.  That means that that if you did not add those classes during pre-enroll, then it will be highly unlikely that enough students will drop from the course for you to grab a seat. Some other popular courses require consent from the professor or a visit to the department’s academic office in order to enroll, such as several courses in the Performing and Media Arts department. Depending on the ADP will get you no where with these classes; you’re best chance is to contact the office or professor a.s.a.p. to grab a seat or a spot on the wait list. Even then, there is no guarantee that any students will drop out of any of these classes, so make sure you have a back-up plan just in case and prepare yourself better to enroll in the class next semester.
  7. If you’re trying out several classes during the ADP before committing to a schedule, make sure you attend all of the course’s class session during the first week of the semester. I know a lot of students will have their eye on multiple classes which occur at the same time during the week and will alternate in their attendance of each class to get a feel for both before adding either class. Well, I’m sorry to tell you that a lot of departments and popular courses keep track of students’ attendance during the first few weeks looking for these floating students. If you don’t the first or second class, they remove you from the course to give students on the wait list a chance to enroll. 
Try to avoid these most common pitfalls if you choose to mess around with the ADP. In addition, ask your fellow classmates and see if they have any additional advice about the ADP or about how to nab a seat in specific classes.
Or, better yet, do what I do: wish for luck during pre-enrollment.

C.H.E.P.: A Story of Being Healthier

“You’re such a skinny-minnie!”
“Your waist is so small! “
“You eat like a bird.”
“Why don’t you eat?”

For all of my life, I have been a tiny girl. Not short-tiny, mind you. Skinny-tiny.
Being vertically-challenged doesn’t bother me. It’s the horizontal bit that draws my ire.

I’ve been underweight for as long as I can remember, and I got tired of it really fast. When you’re a skinny girl, you don’t get a lot of help or sympathy for your particular weight problem. In fact, most girls can’t understand why you see it as a problem to begin with. “Don’t you want to be skinny?” They ask.

No. No, I don’t.
I don’t want to be excessively skinny. Skinniness sucks.

When you’re not very underweight, then it’s not a problem. You can blame your skinniness on genetics, biological factors, or other uncontrollable elements of your life. You look in-shape without even trying, and you don’t have to hold back from eating what you want because you’re supposed to be gaining weight. Being a little underweight is like being a little overweight; it’s completely natural, and you can still look and feel great despite of it.

However, being very underweight is not nearly as desirable. It gets in the way of a lot of things you want to do in life. Why? Because it wasn’t natural, and so your health suffers from it. I should know; I suffered from it, too.

Around high school, I completely lost my appetite. I hardly ate anything at all and, if I did eat, it would be an extremely small meal. I didn’t have an eating disorder like the ones they teach you about in high school health classes; I didn’t want to be skinnier, and I didn’t starve myself or count calories or do anything else to reduce food intake for the sheer purpose of being skinny. I just didn’t get hungry. I had no appetite, and I couldn’t figure out how to deal with that.

Instead, I just didn’t eat. On my best days, my mother would cook me a good dinner at home (which I would have to eat just to escape parental wrath) and I’d eat a hamburger at school for lunch. On the worst days, I would skip both breakfast and dinner and for lunch I would have 4-5 fruit snack gummies. The rest of the bag I gave to my friends for them to eat.

My family, friends, and teachers couldn’t tell at first that my eating habits had deteriorated so rapidly. When I chose to eat and how I chose to throw my food away made it difficult for the people around to keep track of how much I was actually consuming. Only after my health started failing–when I couldn’t help but faint in class or at cross country practices, and I had to sleep for 18+ hours on weekends just to get through them–did people start to notice. Even then, though, I didn’t have the motivation or the knowledge to actually change my habits, and the people around me couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just fix the problem myself.

After all, being skinny isn’t a real problem, right?

Turns out it is. Aside from more well-known eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, there are many other varieties that exist too. In addition, your lifestyle can affect what food you have access to and whether or not you can eat what you need. Finally, you could have a problem with your digestive system, pituitary glands, or other important internal systems that can impede your appetite. For me, my lack of appetite was a result of how my stomach processed food. Having not eaten much as a kid, my stomach developed in such a way that it doesn’t produce the digestive enzymes I need to break down foods quickly. As a result, I don’t feel hungry as often as I should and then I don’t eat. 

I didn’t learn that in the nurses’ office at my high school, nor in the emergency room after fainting in class. I learned that when I came to Cornell University and found the Cornell Healthy Eating Program (C.H.E.P.). There, I finally saw a doctor and a nutritionist who helped me narrow down what was wrong. Although we couldn’t figure why the process started, we figured out why my digestive system doesn’t work as well now that I’m an adult and we figured out what I could do to reverse it. With a few digestive enzyme pills, I’m already seeing tremendous change in my appetite and I’m finally gaining some weight. To keep the progress up, I can participate in the programs group help session or continue to see their nutriotinist at an affordable rate.throughout my time here at Cornell. I greatly appreciate the help I’m receiving through this program, because finally I feel as if I have the motivation and knowledge about my specific condition to actually make changes in my eating habits.

I also realized that I was always extremely bitter about being skinny. I carried that bitterness into college. I used to feel like I couldn’t help being underweight or never feeling really hungru, and I resented anyone who tried to tell me that I should “try harder” to eat better. Being underweight forced me to stop running in high school–a sport and activity I loved dearly–and I lost the opportunity to be active and exercise in the ways I would have liked. Every time I got a dizzy spell from standing up after a lecture, every time I fell short of breathe walking around campus, every time I came close to fainting during work–I hated being skinny. And later on, I started to dislike having people call me skinny or telling me that they wanted to be skinnier. It made me very unhappy in some ways.

I’m not completely over being skinny. I still think being especially underweight is a drag, but finally I found to combat my appetitie problems in a way that made me feel like I had control over my situation. For that reason, I’m more optimistic than ever that I won’t have to be this skinny for very long and that my health will finally get better.

It’s why, for any student who may be struggling with a food issue, I greatly recommend checking out C.H.E.P.. Even if they can’t help you overcome your problem right away, simply the act of getting support and information for yourself can be very empowering. I’m glad that Cornell University chose to have this program available to students.

4 Things for Spring 2014

Well, it’s back to the grind.

Welcome back to Cornell University, everyone. It’s the first week of the new semester–Spring of 2014, to be exact–and it’s time we got our priorities straight before we get bogged down with work or caught up with fun.

…okay, so I’m the one who needs to rethink things. Bear with me as I highlight the four things I really need to get down by the end of my Junior year:

  1. Improve my health. The last few years haven’t been the best years for me health-wise. Between all the lack of exercise, poor sleeping and eating habits, and overall stress I’ve gained, it’s no wonder I don’t feel as good going up stairs as I used to feel. I don’t want to graduate from college in worse health than I entered it. Any poor habits I pick up here will only carry over into my adult life and make it very difficult for me to adjust to whatever new lifestyle I might want to take on later in life. I don’t have to pull miracles; I just need to make small, consistent changes to make me healthier than I am now.
  2. Get a grip on some career path. I need to take some concrete steps towards securing a job after graduation. Now that I’m getting older and I’m starting to have an idea as to where and how I want to live, I need to spend just as much time thinking about what kind of job will get me there. Ideally I would have had a solid idea of what I want to do when I first entered college. I know now that you benefit most from Cornell’s career services when you know specifically what you want to get out of them and take advantage of their opportunities early on in your academic career. However, I can still benefit from their services if I start now. Maybe I can start with some work over the summer? Maybe that will help point me in the right direction.
  3. Capitalize on my hobbies. Last year, I put a lot of effort into dividing my team equally between work and my hobbies. As a Freshman, I didn’t have that balance. I spent all my time on my studies and gave up my hobbies, and I was very unhappy as a result. Sophomore year resulted in the reverse; I spent a lot of time on my hobbies and was very relaxed, but I didn’t get the grades I wanted from my classwork. Now I feel like I have a better grip on that balance, but I still want to get more tangible results out of my hobbies. It’s about time I looked into how I can combine my hobbies and work together so as to be more productive with my time in general.
  4. Get Out More. Period. I spent way too much time at home last semester. Whether it was to finish my classwork, to heal from various illnesses, or to just be lazy, I spent many days lounging around in bed with my laptop by my side and cellphone turned off. I’m not very picky; I can be in the same space peacefully for weeks without complaining. However, staying at home all the time doesn’t do me any favors. It’s a bad habit to pick up as a student. I don’t want to spend my time missing out on all the cool events and opportunities around campus, just to regret it later on in life.
So there you have it. Not the most interesting article I’ve written to date, is it? Ah well, it was necessary. A bit of reflection, a statement of a few resolutions…why not try it yourself? Before heading off for the new semester, come up with four broad goals you want to achieve by the end of the year. I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Who knows? You might inspire to take on a fifth goal myself.

Satan’s Breath & Other Weather Problems

Recently, Ithaca weather has been a bit…


A hallmark of life at Cornell University, Ithaca weather is as fickle as Libe Slope is steep. Though you can almost guarantee some of its changes–like sudden snow at the end of October and bright sunny days on the first and last few weeks of the academic year–there is nothing stopping the fictitious Ithaca weather gods from deciding that today is the day when it should rain for two hours in the morning, snow for four more in the afternoon, and then beat unsuspecting students across the head with penetrating sun beams characteristic a white-hot, unforgiving inferno. Just today, we had rain, lightning, and thunder for one part of the day and what I now think must be what Satan’s breath feels like for the second part. So, as result, I have taken to despise the Ithaca weather gods and no longer hide my distaste for their shenanigans.

If you are like me, meaning that you are an upset Cornell student with poor blood circulation and a poorly-prepared wardrobe, here is what you need to do to show the Ithaca weather gods what is up:

  1. Layer your clothes like they’re the next Snuggie.  This tip is pretty basic advice which you will hear from Cornell students all the time. Got a t-shirt that you really want to wear but not sure if the Ithaca gods will be in your favor today? Layer that thing up with a sweater and jacket, and leave extra space in your backpack to stash them when you’re in your air-conditioned classrooms. Have some fresh new kicks or cute shoes you want to wear, but worried that unsuspecting rain will mess them up with mud? Wear boots, stash the better shoes in your backpack, and switch the pairs when you get to your classroom. If your boots are muddy, don’t put them in your backpack (disaster alert). Just put them on the side of your desk and nonchalantly whistle like you’ve done nothing strange as fellow classmates raise their eyebrows at you. 
  2. Hide in academic buildings as you travel. When rain and snow hits Ithaca, I become a turtle and Cornell’s academic buildings become my shell. Many students will tell you that you can sit out in the libraries and wait until the bad weather passes, but you and I both know that we don’t have time for that kind of patience. I learned in a game of APO Assassins that, if you memorize the campus map well enough, you can pretty much get anywhere across campus pretty quickly by walking through academic buildings. If it’s raining bullets outside, minimize your exposure by ducking into buildings that fall along your route to your next destination. For example, if you’re in Trillium and you need to get to CollegeTown, go through buildings like Ives Hall, the Statler, and Duffield to give yourself a break from the weather. It’s not perfect, but it really does help.
  3. Flirt with Weather Control. Bring a fan. Test your room’s air conditioning and/or heating systems well before you need. Anticipate having problems with these devices early on and get Cornell’s maintenance staff to check up on your equipment. At the very least, ask your RA or shoot an email to the maintenance staff asking about when you can expect these systems to be turned on, so you can better keep an eye out for future complications. If you live off-campus, talk to your landlord. Be polite when you need to be and annoying if you have to be. You don’t want a broken heating system when its hailing outside, or a broken fan when the sun is burning you through your window. In any case, it’s better to be wrong than right. 
  4. Run like a track star or prepare for the worst. When push comes to shove, you’re either going to need to embrace Ithaca’s worst weather or run from it like its the plague. Learn the quickest routes between places and book it to your classes like you’re in a thriller movie. Or stroll in your penguin-like coat and knee-high all-purpose boots, showing off your swag (or lack thereof) to no one in particular. In both cases, remember the sunny clear days of Ithaca from Welcome Weekend and try to trick your mind into thinking it’s still summer. Because…that is literally all the control you have over the situation, my friend. That. Is. All.
  5. Learn to leave a good man behind. Have a friend who is very slow and doesn’t mind the cold? Forgot a book you need for class back in your room on West Campus and already climbed the Slope? Well, you’re going to need to make a tough decision. Are you going to suffer the bad weather and do the right thing, or give it all up for the promise of a few more minutes of comfort? No matter what you think you’ll do, prepare yourself for the hours of self-analysis that might come should you ever find yourself doing the latter. You’re not a bad person. It’s just bad weather. 
  6. Complain. Yes, complain. Complain about the weather all the time. No one will judge you. Everyone here does it. Something about cursing the weather gods just seems to make the day a little easier here in Ithaca. So toss that optimism aside and tell random strangers how much you hate the weather here. No one is really going to think that you won’t be back again next year.
  7. Reassess Your Priorities and Your Schedule. Now Cornell officials won’t  particularly approve this one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable option. When you’re making your class schedules or signing up for work shifts or committing to clubs, consider where you will be on campus and whether you’d be willing to walk the distance in the worst of Ithaca weather scenarios. More often than not, you’ll wake up one day, look at the sky, stick your hand out the window…and skip all your classes just because you swear you saw icicles forming on your fingertips. I’m not advocating skipping classes (even though I do admit to doing it from time to time); I’m just recommending you take those things into consideration when thinking about how and where you’ll be spending your time all year. Your bed is a temptress, and Ithaca weather will push you straight towards that temptation. Set yourself up to avoid that siren call, or embrace the bed covers with pride.

So, dear Ithaca weather, you have won today as you have always won and always will. The eclecticism in your combining of weather patterns over a 24-hour time period astounds me every day. However, when you punish me with weather as hot as Satan’s breathe, my fellow weather whiners and I will be trying our best to overcome you. We will lose, but we will try.

When All Else Fails, Just Dance

At the end of every semester, you will witness some similar trends on campus:

  1. The weather will dramatically change. It will either begin to snow terribly or become incredibly warm. Either way, it will feel as if Ithaca is mocking you because…
  2. You will have to spend large amounts of time inside libraries or in your room because final projects, essays, and exams are creeping up on you. To make things worse…
  3. Even if you manage to get outside, almost everyone else will be too busy studying because they too have final projects, essays, and exams for which to prepare.
However, the few weeks before finals are also the time for many interesting activities. There is the notorious Slope Day and many other social events on campus for students to enjoy before hiding underneath rocks to study. Furthermore, most of Cornell’s dance troupes and performing arts organizations will perform shows on campus to showcase their best acts of the semester.
I’m not a big fan of drinking alcohol, so events like Slope Day don’t appeal to me very much. However, I am a big fan of dance and other performing arts so I’m glad that the Cornell community offers these shows at the end of the semester. In a way, I use them as alternative to hanging out at parties and social events. They allow me to relieve stress before Finals Week in a way that is care-free and fun, and I also get to support my friends who are members of these performing organizations and troupes.

If you are like me and are also interested in watching some shows before Final Week kicks in, here are some ways you can catch some of the best student performances on campus:

  1. In the fall semester, keep your eyes and ears fixed for something called the Fall Showcase. It is a show comprised of several different acts by a medley of Cornell’s dance troupes. It’s the quickest way to get a sampling of the many different groups we have here.
  2. Look for posters around campus in areas like Willard Straight Hall, the Schwartz Center, and other locations. There, you may be able to catch advertisements for A Capella groups and dance troupes. They’ll also pass quarter-cards (mini flyers) on Ho Plaza.
  3. Ask your friends if they are in groups or troupes that are performing. Most often that not, you will have a classmate who is dying to meet their ticket quota. At the very least, they might know of some performances you can watch even if they are not in a group. I’ve learned about a lot of shows in this manner.
  4. When you go to a performance, pay attention to the visiting acts. Sometimes, a group will host a show and invite other similar troupes or organizations to come and do a short act in the middle of their show. If you really like a group that makes a short appearance in one of the shows you watch, then you can look at the show’s informational pamphlet to learn the group’s name and check out their events on their websites or Facebook. If you’re very interested, listen closely to the group at the end of their act. Almost always they will announce the dates and locations of their next show on campus before leaving the stage.
  5. Watch out for advertisements by groups and organizations on the “Class of ___” Facebook pages. More established groups will typically post up a promotional video to advertise their events, so you can see for yourself whether or not the show will be worth your money.

Hopefully, this advice will help you find some interesting shows to attend whenever you are facing incoming finals. Unfortunately, right now many of the shows have already passed. However, you can still anticipate these great shows that will no doubt be reoccurring next semester! I know that I have been enjoying them, whether it was the intense Pao Bhangra show featuring Bhanrga dance troupes from all over the country or Base’s hip-hop and modern dance show with glow sticks and crowd Harlem Shakes. All of them have been amazing, diverse performances and great de-stressers from daily life.

The Best Way to Work on Campus

The best way to work on campus is to not work at all.

By that, I mean not having an on-campus job. Managing academics and maintaining a social life is much easier when one doesn’t also need to work in order to pay off tuition or living expenses. Although it may give you more work experience and more money in your wallet, it certainly takes up a lot of time and not all campus jobs are worth the effort you may put into them. In addition, the best jobs on campus–those that pay well and have good work conditions–are almost always hard-to-find or highly sought after by students. Ideally, if one could avoid it, the best situation is to not have to work during the academic semesters and to gain work experience and money over the academic breaks.

However, realistically, not everyone has the luxury to choose that option. Many of us have work-study requirements or piles of incoming bills that demand we get a job a.s.a.p. when coming to college. For those of us who must work, what then can we do? What are the best work opportunities that will generate the least stress for us? In short, what is the best way to work on campus?

As of now, I currently have three jobs with Cornell University:

  1. I work as a student blogger for their Life on the Hill blog series.
  2. I work behind the counters of the Ivy Room at Willard Straight Dining, preparing and serving food. And….
  3. I work as a tutor for elementary school students through the Public Services Center’s REACH program.

Working at the Ivy Room; Photo Credit to Tony Leong

It may seem like much, but I actually work relatively few hours for each of those positions and the hours are pretty flexible for most of my jobs. It was much harder my freshman year, when I had only one job but stricter hours and when I worked 4-5 shifts a week on average. However, having three jobs wasn’t something I had intended either. It was a product of a desperate search to find a job after being unable to return to my previous employer at the end of Fall semester, Sophomore year. The only way I could cover my work study allocation while also making up for the time I spent unemployed was to accept three job offers simultaneously and balance them against my academics.

Given my experience with locating work at Cornell, as well as the stories I have heard from my fellow classmates, I feel as if I can say I am very familiar with Cornell’s on-campus employment system. For those of you looking for work, here are some tips you should now:

  1. Check out Cornell’s student job databases for relevant postings. It was through databases and various advertising locations on campus that I found every single one of the jobs I have had over my last two years at Cornell.
  2. Look for a job early in the semester. The longer you wait, the smaller the chance you will have at snagging a decent job with hours that will fit your academic schedule.
  3. Ask students you know about where they have worked or recommend working. Students always have valuable insight on the different workplaces available on campus or, at the very least, they might point you in the direction of someone who could help. Another option is to go to different offices, libraries, and other facilities on campus to ask directly if they have openings.
  4. Once you have a job, if you want to quit, make sure you get a new job before leaving your old one. I was once told I would have a job ready for me only to find out that, once I had quit my other job, a position wasn’t actually available for me. It took me weeks to find new employment, and those weeks of no income really hurt me in the long-run.

Now, what is the best work to have on campus?

Well, I can’t say for sure, but I can tell you that for me the best  jobs I’ve had on campus were the ones that were the least advertised, like my blogging job and my job as a tutor. Those jobs took me a long time to find, but they are definitely the most rewarding overall. Both jobs allow for wonderful experiences interacting with people (adults and children, alike), pay relatively higher wages than my past jobs, are more flexible time-wise, and have the least stressful work conditions (I’m looking at you, Cornell dining jobs). Jobs that were the most common for students–working in libraries and dining halls–were the least rewarding in my experiences. I did get to meet a lot of interesting people through those types of jobs, but the poor hours, hard working conditions, ineffective management, and low wages didn’t make it worthwhile. I currently maintain a job at the Ivy Room because I have already developed an attachment to the people working there. However, between the Ivy Room and blogging–or between the Ivy Room and REACH–the latter options are definitely better for my current lifestyle as a student.

If you’re a student looking for the best work on campus, my best advice is to continue looking beyond the obvious choices of employment for those jobs which may prove more interesting for you personally or more suitable to your schedule as a student. You can take on a dining job or library job in the meantime to earn money, but I strongly urge you to continue looking for other employment even while you are working at those facilities. In summary, the best job on campus is the one that most students don’t even know exist. Find one of those jobs, and you’ll have a much easier time getting through your academic and work requirements; I guarantee it.