If I were to describe my stress level right now using the Homeland Security color code, I’d say bright red. The severity of the situation is mostly due to my thesis project, which must be completed before the final presentations on May 11th. If the next three weeks aren’t miraculously productive, my five year tenure at Cornell will be extended to six, and a serious damper will be placed on the impending graduation festivities.

So far, things are not going very well. Let me list for you some of the set-backs that I have experienced during the past two weeks.

  1. I walked into my first job interview and managed to catch the interviewer off guard. He literally jumped out of his chair in surprise when I entered the room. Talk about first impressions!
  2. Our college hosted an alumni career forum and I showed up before my classmates to sign up for an open interview. I got the time slot I wanted and stuck around for a couple hours to listed to the panel discussion. To my dismay, the people at Career Services had made a serious error; they posted two identical sign-up sheets and ended up with twice as many names as they could accept. They discarded the sheet that had my name on it.
  3. I told my parents over the phone that I am looking forward to a healthy period of unemployment and the line went silent.
  4. I woke up on Friday evening and couldn’t find my car in the parking lot behind our house. Apparently I drove it to campus on Wednesday, forgot about it, and walked home with friends. I finally found it with two days of tickets on the windshield; luckily it had not been towed.
  5. As noted in #4, I have become nocturnal. I wake up between 8pm and 10pm and work until the following afternoon.
  6. I gave a campus tour on Saturday and a girl asked me how I pull it off. How do I manage all the work at Cornell? I almost admitted to her that I was nocturnal and hadn’t slept for 26 hours, but realized that it wouldn’t go over well with the moms. So I spoke about academic advising and time management, admitting only that “I lead a strange life.”
  7. Today I deposited birthday money from my grandparents and mailed a check to Commuter and Parking services, suffering a net birthday-week loss of $10.  Sorry Grandma.

6 thoughts on “RED ZONE”

  1. Well done Tim. I’ve encountered the same question, “how do you deal with stress levels?” “Massive amounts of alcohol” doesn’t go over so well with parents.


  2. #1 and 2…These and stranger things will happen in the search for a job. Many jobs will be found, lost, discarded, refound, considered, lost, discarded…but you will come out alright before you truly despair. And, you may end up being gifted in the job finding department, you never know.

    #3…not a conversation starter with parents. Trust me on this one.

    #4,5,6, and 7…all part of the living nocturnally under great stress. This is a mini-experience of what medical residency is like (or so I’ve been told).

    #8…so glad you can keep your sparkling humor even during this crunch time. One step at a time, one square inch at a time, keep on keeping on, and it will, truly will get done. Just don’t sit down to rest for too long until it IS done, though.

  3. We just won’t share this post with Grandma. Our little secret. Hang in there with the thesis. Jenny sounded just as stressed out when her thesis was three weeks from being due. Wish we could make it easier. Love, Mom

  4. So…my dad is an architect in the Boston area, and does a lot of inferior (interior) design, and totally thought he was above it as a Cornell Architecture student, but ended up LOVING what he’s doing. If you want to get in touch with him, you can e-mail me back–he’s worked with Cornell Arch grads before, and is always loyal to his alma mada (see song online). It’s in the Boston area, and you get some great connections for future things. Hope this isn’t too creepy.

  5. Gentile Signor Liddell,

    capisco benissimo lo stress che accompagna la discussione della tesi.

    Se sta considerando la possibilita` di frequentare il sesto anno di architettura a Cornell, pensi anche agli aspetti positivi — potra` ripetere il corso 3130! Che gioia!

    Un cordialissimo saluto,
    Il Suo incubo

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