061 Explore: Ezra’s Tunnel

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Staying the summer in Ithaca gave me more than enough time to explore what needs to be explored. Ezra’s tunnel definitely needs to be on your list of things to see while you’re at Cornell. If you’re ever on the bridge between West and North, you’ll notice a worn down dam covered in graffiti, asking Lily to prom and telling everyone to “eat more kale.” You also might see people sun bathing on this damn and ask yourself how the heck they got down there. You have to do a little climbing, and like my hiking in Africa, there were ropes involved (yikes!), but after you’re first time, it’s completely the opposite of scary. Behind Sigma Nu on West Campus, there’s a trail that leads to a 5-ft cliff you can climb down. After this cliff, you’ll go through this tunnel:

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It gets pretty dark, and is kind of scary because when you step, it sounds like you’re stepping on bones. Don’t worry! Just broken down rocks and probably huge spiders (haha…). You can then decide to go left, and climb the damn and sunbath or try to walk down to the edge of Ithaca Falls (as in the edge to the top of Ithaca Falls – talk about a view!) or walk right and find yourself at a smaller waterfall and a swimming hole. It’s honestly the best spot for a picnic, adventure, and photo op. Definitely Instagram worthy!

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060 How to Update Your Closet for College

Packing for college is hard! Most people overpack, and think they need everything and more, when in reality, you should opt to minimize your lifestyle at college! You don’t need every single piece of clothing ever created, and it’s better to do the shopping once at school, than before school. Shopping before school usually tends to over-shopping, and getting things you don’t actually need! (Hint: Buy your textbooks after you get your course syllabus).

College is a new start and you should definitely seek out to clean out your closet. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Does it fit?
2. Is it wearable / in good condition?
3. Do you even wear it ever?
4. Is it in style?
5. Can it be worn in more than one outfit?

Donate the clothes that don’t qualify these questions. Then think about what you need and research what stores have what you’re looking for. My goal this semester is to keep my clothes monochromatic, so I won’t waste so much time trying to piece together outfits. Instead, everything will match and look good in all situations. When you’re shopping, think of how a certain article of clothing can be used in more than one way. Don’t forget to use your new student discount to get the most of your shopping!

Don’t forget to take into account all the different occasions you’ll be in!

-Interviews (You’ll probably only need 1 good quality interview outfit)
-Formals (Nothing like prom, but there are a couple formal social events during each semester, especially if you join clubs and organizations!)
-Going Out
-Weather (rain, snow, sun – we’ve got everything here in Ithaca)
-Gym
-Classes

And of course, at least one article of Cornell gear!

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059 Student Survival Kit

Eek- It’s that time of year again! Don’t worry, incoming Freshmen, EVERYONE’s excited for orientation week. Remember that one Arthur scene where he’s running down the street, as the surroundings go from sunny and green to red, brown, and orange leaves and wind swirls in the sky (Season 2, Episode 9, FYI). That’s totally what I’m feeling right now. Although I’m ready for another fresh start and to welcome the new freshmen, I’m so sad that summer is almost over. I tried so many new things this summer, and met so many incredible people. While most of my friends chose the paid-internship route in NYC or California, I decided to stay another summer in Ithaca. It was absolutely amazing and I’ll write another post on what I’ve been up to later, but for now, I’ve prepared a list of things to bring to Cornell, a survival kit, if you will.

FIRST AID
-Ibuprofen
-Band-aids, particularly those ones with the hello kitty faces on them
-Allergy Medicine
-Cold and Flu Medicine
-Sunscreen

GOING OUT
-Deck of Cards
-Ping Pong Balls
-Water Bottle
-Crossbody Bag
-Bottle Opener / Corkscrew

STUDY
-Printer
-Highlighters
-Mini-stapler (Keep in school bag)
-Extra phone charger (Keep in school bag)
-Day Planner
-Extra Pair of Headphones (keep in school bag)

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058 Dragon Dragon Dragon!

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There are a few things in life which I should enjoy, but can’t. Parades are usually one of them (Who wants to stand for hours in the same spot?). So when my friend asked me to go to the famous Dragon Day with her, I was a little skeptical to get out of bed (yes, it was noon…). But I decided to go because last year, I was taking a bio prelim and heard all this screaming but never saw what had happened. When we made our way down to Milstein, however, I was so surprised to see a large group of loud students all dressed up in ridiculous costumes. They weren’t just slip-on, buy at the store kind of costumes, either. You could tell they were handmade and obnoxious and what I expect Halloween to be but am always disappointed because no one on Halloween is ever dressed how the architects were dressed today. Everyone, in these ridiculous costumes, were yelling and laughing and I was just amazed at the crowd. Slightly hungover, I was pretty confused about everything that was happening around me, but I loved it. I loved the energy and the creativity that went into it. Suddenly, I saw the dragon….which was AWESOME. I couldn’t stop staring at how cool it looked. And unlike most parades, I walked with the dragon, as it made its way down East Ave and toward Duffield. I saw tour groups and little kids and professors and Ithaca students. I was so surprised at just how many people were there. My friend and I ran up a building in the arts quad a little after to see the burning of the dragon. We ran up four flights of stairs to get the perfect view, which I have to admit, is probably a new favorite campus spot for me. It was such a great time and many kudos to the architect students! I’m so impressed and just for a moment today, I wish I had been an archi. c(;

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Posted in Sophomore Year | Leave a comment

057 Dining Hall Hacks

Tired of RPCC and Appel? I was too. My 14-meals/ week plan was WAY too much and although Cornell’s dining is one of the best in the country, sometimes you need a little more variety. Here’s a few ways to spice your dining experience a little bit and impress your friends on your Top Chef skills.

1. ROOT BEER FLOAT

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Scoop a single scoop of ice cream into one of those blue-ish cups and fill with root beer from the soda machine. Yes.

2. YOGURT / ICE CREAM BAR

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In case you’re more of a texture person, like me, yogurt is kind of boring and gross. Take a bowl of yogurt to the fruit bar and the cereal bar and add lots of goodies like blueberries, strawberries, granola, Rice Krispies cereal, etc. Whatever your heart desires. It’s also a good alternative for soft-serve ice cream when the crushed m&ms just aren’t doing it for you.

 3. NEVER BUY CONDIMENTS AGAIN

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Last year, my townhouse was so food-adventurous! We had a pancakes dinner once and crepes another time. Whenever we wanted to bake or cook, we would hold Operation RPCC, where we steal ingredients from the dining hall. I take my tupperware and just scoop bowls and bowls of caramel, sprinkles, fruit, etc. I know you’re not supposeddd to do it, but as long as you’re sneaky about it…

4. ICE CREAM SANDWICH

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I used to work at Coldstone so I am a PRO at these. Two cookies. One scoop of ice cream. and jealous dinner-friends.

5. PITA PIZZA

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Pita from the bread section + Spinach, mushrooms, cheese, etc. from the salad bar + 1 minute in the toaster oven / microwave = perfect.

6. ASIAN-STYLED NOODLES

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This one is a little harder. Take some plain spaghetti or if the dining hall has plain pho / rice noodles, take some of those. In a smaller bowl, combine some peanut butter, soy sauce, and a little Siracha and mix. You may want to heat it up in the microwave to make it a little thinner. Pour this over your noodles and mix to combine. If the salad bar has some crunch veg (snow peas, carrots, edamame, etc.), throw that in there too! Yum!

7. HOT CARAMEL MOCHA

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I got this idea from Brandon cos he always mixes a 50:50 ratio of hot chocolate and coffee whenever he’s tired and at Appel. That could taste a little weird, since the hot chocolate is super watery and powdery and not really what I think of when I think of hot chocolate. Instead, take a mug and pour some caramel and chocolate sauce. Then pour in the coffee and stir. Top with whipped cream (Found in the waffle bar) and make it pretty with a caramel and chocolate drizzle. You’re basically at Starbucks.

Posted in Recipes, Sophomore Year | Leave a comment

056 Whatever You’re Doing, It’s Not Good Enough.

A friend recently visited Cornell on her journey of college visits. As she was talking, I noticed certain phrases that were being used consistently throughout our conversations. Phrases like, “I doubt I’ll get in,” and “I don’t think I’m good enough for that”. I think every Cornell student would agree that those phrases aren’t too uncommon on this campus. Business Insider just published an article which highlights 19 Cornell students with huge achievements (one of them being one of my Kappa Delta sisters! Go Jenn! Article found here). Even during recruitment, when I was speaking to girls who were roughly my age, I was amazed at how accomplished my peers were, and how much they’ve done before they turn 20. There are students here who are already CEOs of their own companies or have developed iPhone apps or have discovered some sort of innovation. There are people here with over 4.0 GPAs and people who can take semesters off just to work on their own start-ups. I admire their courage and risk-taking, and use it as motivation for me to work harder toward my goals. However, I can definitely understand the constant, dulling pressure of feeling like you have to keep up with them. There are times when I’ve felt like there’s no way for me to be as good as those exceptional students, and I’m tempted just to give up.

However, when I spoke to my high school friend, I could tell that it was a tired feeling for her. She got rejected from her top choice college early decision and seemed like she lost confidence in herself. She kept adding those subtle phrases of doubt.

I’ve been there. I’ve experienced and am experiencing it now, with the stress of medical school, and I don’t think I realized that about myself until I spoke with her and saw a lot of her starting to grow in me. When I get stressed out about post-college life, my friends often try to comfort me by saying that it’s too early for me to even worry about it – that I’m being pre-mature. Of course I wouldn’t actually listen to them because it’s never really too early to start planning for your future. And like the Business Insider article points out, it’s never too early to have accomplishments. So that wasn’t it.

When I spoke to my friend, I realized that I, too, constantly doubt myself. I sometimes back out of experiences because I’m too scared I’ll fail. I do what I’m comfortable with and often, what I’m good at is what I like. Sometimes I verbally doubt myself to my friends, as if I’m trying to cushion the possibility of failure.

It’s scary that the stress has become so ingrained in us that we’ve made a habit of doubting our potentials. We’re all great and we’re here at this school, which is an accomplishment in itself. No one, especially ourselves, should tell us that we can’t do something we want to do. We shouldn’t lower our standards. Let’s make it happen.

Posted in Sophomore Year | 1 Comment

055 It’s Finally White! Winter Break and Pre-Recruitment

I have never seen a warmer winter in Upstate NY before. And although it might be over talked about, the weather is an interesting thing! It dictates everything we do. This was my first Christmas not white and snowy, which was a bit disappointed. The holidays didn’t really feel like the holidays so I didn’t get the same excitement as the past 19 years. I was, however, very excited to be making a trip to NYC, Massanutten, and Washington DC after Christmas to go skiing! Although the snow was fake, it was still nice to see. I realized just how bad I am at skiing and how overestimating my ability led to me being stuck at the top of a steep hill.

When we arrived in DC, the weather returned back to the 45-50 degree weather I had grown used to. And then out of no where, the news declared an Arctic Freeze, just in time for recruitment next week.

This winter break has been the best yet, as I spent most of it with my friends and family. Brandon and I went on a lot of culinary adventures as we made wontons, sushi, macarons, cookies, meringues, etc. It was so great to finally relax after months of being at school. But with all good things, they must come to an end….to make room for even better things….RECRUITMENT!

I am SO excited to go back early and prepare for sorority recruitment. It’s so weird being on the other side of the process – I’ve seen how much planning goes into it and I’m amazed at the great job of Panhellenic and Kappa Delta’s council! Although waking up early SUCKS after I’ve been sleeping in until noon everyday this break, I’m excited to see my sisters and friends and potential sisters and potential friends. I’ll try to post during recruitment, but the entire thing is back to back things to do and meetings.

It’s weird. Throughout the semester, students are dying to go back home. Well, I’d like to stay home, yeah, but I’m so happy to be going back to school early. I miss Cornell!

Posted in Greek Life, Sophomore Year | 1 Comment

054 First Impressions

Everyone knows not to judge a book by its cover. But every author also knows how great a cover can help them. The advertising helps a lot. That’s why nearly every semester, Cornell holds workshops to help you build your resume. But your resume is not the only thing that’s important. It’s how you present yourself that says a lot about you. Sure, you’re allowed to have bad days. But you never know who you could meet or what opportunities you have each day. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you out!

1. Invest in a watch
I know your smart phone can tell you the time in just a click. But having to reach into your pocket to check the time every so often may seem a little disrespectful (It’s probably even more disrespectful to have your phone out). Also, you probably have a ton of notifications you’re dying to open, which can be distracting as well. Having a watch shows whomever you’re with that you are responsible with time and it’s also a lot more subtle than checking your phone.

2. Dress for class
I know you don’t want to wake up earlier than you have to for class, but I’ve found it beneficial to dress for class. I don’t mean button down and khakis everyday, but just not sweats or even worse, pajamas. For those of you in high school, it’s true – college students literally roll out of bed and go to class – and in a lecture hall of 500 students, no one really cares what you’re wearing. But when I’m in my PJs, am I really in the mood to pay attention? Probably not. Also, I’ve found that I’ve ran into people that I want to impress while I’m looking my worst. I’m not saying you have to be trendy or fashionable or dress up everyday, but simply make it look like you got ready in the morning. Show that you care about your routine.

3. Think before you speak
Have you ever met those people who seem to go on and on without really contributing anything? Don’t be one of those people. Always have a point when you speak to someone and make sure you think about what you’re saying and what consequences may come. I wouldn’t avoid controversial topics if you are truly passionate about your stance on them, but try not to offend anyone that you are talking to or that may be close by. You may not know what position they stand on a certain topic, so never speak down toward something. Rather, keep it positive and speak in a manner which brings out the positive aspects of your position, and not the negative aspects of the other side. Being well-spoken is a rare skill nowadays. Bring it back!

4. Work on your handwriting
This one seems kind of odd for a topic relating to first impressions. I’ve realized that people pay attention to your handwriting and admire someone for their penmanship. It’s not the most important, but at the same time, it can help a lot. People perceive handwriting as part of your personality. You don’t necessarily have to make it look typed and perfect, but it just has to be neat. It says a lot about someone when they try to fit pages of chicken scratch into 1 page. If you know you have chicken scratch, try to space out your words. Don’t worry about fitting everything you have to write down onto one sheet. Instead, take your time and be organized. It will pay off.

5. Show passion
If you haven’t watched it already, a good feel-good movie is Rudy. The main character chased his dream, and even though he didn’t have the right physical qualifications, he showed true passion and hard work. People will understand if you don’t know a certain concept or if you don’t have a certain skill yet. That stuff can always be learned. What’s important is your work ethic and how you respond to certain situations. Those kind of things take years to get down.

Posted in Sophomore Year | Leave a comment

053 The Years Without Them

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Since Gilmore Girls was released on Netflix, I’ve just been rotting away in bed whenever I have the chance. The ultimate mother-daughter relationship. It’s safe to say most girls want the Lorelai-Rory relationship with their parents. I’ve always been jealous of that.

I was never really that close with my parents. I never told them where I was, what I was doing, or how my days went in high school. In fact, I didn’t see them for a large majority of my teen-years. I was either busy at after-school activities or they were busy at work. I would usually have to figure out my own dinner plans, where I felt like most families sat down at a designated time everyday to spend a meal together. That being said, I thought college would be so easy without them, since I never felt like they were a large part of my high school life anyway. On move-in day, I saw most students walking around with their parents behind them. I met the families and extended families of my housemates. I saw parents crying. I was always walking alone, but never minded that my parents weren’t there.

When my classes started picking up and the work seemed overwhelming, I didn’t really know who to turn to. I decided to reach out to my mom and it actually helped me a lot. Right before my first prelim, I remember freaking out and I don’t think I really believed how understanding my parents are. I admitted that I knew nothing on the prelim and she surprisingly told me to just try my best and it would be okay if I didn’t do as well as I hoped. She told me she was proud of me for being at Cornell and that she would be proud of me as long as I tried my best. I think I really needed to hear that, because ever since, my parents and siblings and I have been in a group chat. We’ve been updating each other on our lives and problems ever since. It’s shown me that who I thought my parents were in high school is completely different than who they actually are. Yeah, they’re still pretty annoying sometimes, especially when they call me a million times in a row when I tell them I’m in a meeting. But I’ve started to notice everything they do for me. My first semester, I got a care package right before finals, which had a giant bulk-sized jar of Nutella. It was awesome. They are now always sending me the latest links of news about Ebola, and we’ve even planned our escape plan if Ebola outbreaks in the US. I even told them about my relationship with Brandon, something I probably wouldn’t have done in high school. I’ve realized how lucky I am to live so close to home. Whenever I need something, I can just ask my parents to bring it up and then they can treat me to lunch! They always remind me I can come home whenever I want, and always offer to make the drive up to Ithaca to see me.

I’m not really sure how, but parents get a lot cooler in college.

Posted in Sophomore Year | Leave a comment

052 I fell. I falled.

They say summers in Ithaca are the best, but they all actually mean autumn. It’s not too hot, not too cold, and autumn in Upstate New York helps with Ithaca’s gorgeousness. I’m still finding more and more hidden scenic routes to all my classes, where the leaves are bright red and the air is brisk. Everything is perfect in the fall. A few weeks ago was Apple Fest, one of my favorite things to do in Ithaca. Held in the Commons, hundreds of people swarm local stands for homemade fudge, apple crisps, caramel apples, etc. It’s kind of like one giant farmers market devoted to apples. I’m all for classic festival food too — fried pickles, fried oreos, blooming onion — basically everything fried (ignore the fact that I’m a nutrition major). It’s really a great get together and I love supporting all the local businesses that come out.

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Oh, and of course the baked goods. Ohhh, the baked goods. So many stands were selling apple pie and pumpkin, I had to scout all of them before returning back to one. The food was incredible!

Speaking of apples, over fall break, I decided to go home for the day. Binghamton is known for its Cider Mill, which is a local business that makes fresh cider and doughnuts! You can actually see the open-kitchen where the doughnuts are being made and you can see the process in which they make their cider. Everything is so fresh and delicious! It’s one of my favorite places in Binghamton. When I was in high school, I would go there everyday for a freshly made doughnut. They’re sooooo good – I could probably eat a bag in a sitting.

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Brandon and I bought more than a dozen doughnuts and this HUGE pumpkin. I think it weighed over 45 lbs. Which we carved into….

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…A Pikachu!! I didn’t realize how long it took! We sat in front of my TV and put The Haunted Mansion on while we cut into this thing and scooped out its seeds. We finished the entire movie before we even decided what to carve into it! So we put on Hocus Pocus (classic) and got to work. I think it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. But ever since we carved this, I’ve been wanting to do it again, until my whole yard is full of them. I really don’t know – I think I just love fall. The crafts, the food, the feeling of pure joy. It’s crazy to think that after all this ends – after the trees are completely bare and the grounds all white with snow – that I’ll be just as excited for the holidays as I am now! I don’t really think I appreciated how beautiful it is here in the fall until this year. Last year, it seemed like so many things were going on that I didn’t even notice the leaves changing colour. But I forced myself to look up when I walked this semester and it’s been beautiful.

Posted in Freshman Year | 1 Comment