Monthly Archives: January 2011

My “Major” Problem

“Hey! What’s your name?”


“What college are you in?”

“Arts and Sciences.”

“…and what are you majoring in?”

“Well…um…uh…you see…”

And that’s how the majority of my first conversations with people go here. I know what some of you are thinking– “you’re a FRESHMAN! You shouldn’t have to worry about these sort of things just yet!”

Majors in the college of arts and sciences

Well, that’s not entirely true. I like technology, right? So say I wanted to major in Information Science. According to this page, I’d need to take 4 pre-selected courses to be admitted to the major when everyone else is, at the end of sophomore year. So it’s definitely something I need to be thinking about, because I should be starting to think about my curriculum for next fall already!

So what am I thinking of so far major-wise, and why?

  • Information Science-I love technology, but I’m not into hard-core programming; I’m more interested in the way computers are used. This seems like a viable option…although looking over the requirements there still seems to be a good amount of really math-y requirements (i.e. linear algebra, etc.)
  • Economics-I know I want to go into business, but I’m in the liberal arts college. So economics seems like the logical choice…right? Well, yeah…I took introductory macroeconomics and liked the class, but I’m not so sure I’d like the higher level classes where you have to look at crazy curves (as exemplified below). You’d give me half credit if you were a professor…right?

oc0.gif (468×480)

  • Sociology-I’m taking introduction to sociology now, and it seems really interesting so far. Plus, if I reeally like business, there’s an optional concentration in the major entitled “Business, Networks, and Institutions.” That could be interesting…but as of now it’s too early to tell.
  • Français/Chinese (Zhongwen)-Ah oui, j’adore le français! Wo hen xihuan xue Zhongwen! I do like French and Chinese a lot, and am on my second French class now at Cornell, but I’m not quite sure if I’d want to specialize in it the next 3 years. As far as Chinese, I took it for 3 years in high school and like it a lot, but same thing: do I want that to be my primary specialization for undergrad? (I’m not doubting it, I’m just genuinely unsure!)
Here I am in Tiananmen this a sign I should major in Chinese?

Here I am in Tiananmen this a sign I should major in Chinese?

  • Switch colleges (at Cornell)? Hmm, this is an option that’s definitely in the back of my mind…but I don’t think it will ever come to fruition. I like Arts and Sciences a lot, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been interested in the Dyson School for Applied Economics and Management or the Hotel School.
  • Minors- The Policy Analysis and Management program at Cornell offers a minor that could be really interesting (and business related). Maybe that’s worth checking out too.

So, to sum it up:

I have no clue whatsoever.

Ideas? Suggestions? Want to send me food but need my address? Feel free to get in touch.

Have a good week!

First day of classes!

I just spent the day shopping.

No, not at the Ithaca Mall. Or Wegmans (though I do need milk). Rather, I went course shopping–finding interesting classes to take the next semester at Cornell by sitting in lectures. Don’t get me wrong, I had an inkling of what my schedule was to look like next semester…but you never really know what the class is going to be like from some vague description in the huge Courses of Study book. So, I decided to sit in on a bunch of classes–ranging from Microeconomics to Ancient Egyptian Civilization–with an open mind to see which ones would be worth daddy’s hard-earned money.


Literally...endless opportunities!

The results? I loved them all! Darn you, world renowned faculty who are enthusiastic about what they’re teaching! Why can’t some of you be horrendous, to make my job of picking classes a little easier?

In reality, though, I think that one class I’ll stick with is Alien Empire: The Bizarre Biology of Bugs! As someone who doesn’t really enjoy hard sciences, this seems like a great, interesting class to fulfill a science requirement. The class seemed to fly by, and I didn’t get antsy in class; maybe it’s because the material doesn’t bug me. (Okay, I’ll save any remaining shred of dignity I have and stop with the puns.)


For all you freshmen accepted early decision and are waiting around with nothing much to do but have an obsession with Cornell, one thing I’d recommend doing is taking a peek at whatever course websites are online–just to see what piques your interest. A lot of great professors put their PowerPoints online (like in the Bug class, or my Econ class last semester), and it can be fun to see the kind of stuff you’ll be doing—GASP–later this year!

Oh, and guess what I bought today? An iClicker for my Sociology class! For those not in the loop, an iClicker (see the picture below) is basically a device that you use in large lecture halls to indicate your answer to a multiple choice question, much like the Ask the Audience on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

packagedAs a technology geek, it’ll definitely be exciting to use and I’m looking forward to it.

Have a great day!

Wrapping up winter break

As Cornell’s month-long winter break is gradually coming to a close, I’m definitely feeling bittersweet about the whole thing. It’ll certainly be nice going back, seeing people, and starting a fresh round of classes that interest me…but it’s definitely going to be an adjustment again, having to wake up early and all (not to mention the whole “studying” thing).

As of last week, it’s been confirmed that I’ll be getting a room switch next semester for a couple of reasons. Will it be hard leaving the comfort of one building where I already know everybody to go move to a hall where everyone’s been acquainted with each other for a semester? Heck yeah. But it is a single, and it is in the newest building (often called “Court Resort” because it’s so nice), so there’re some positive things to look forward to.

Air conditioning in the spring...woohoo!

Court-Kay-Bauer, which has air conditioning in the spring...woohoo!

Here are a random pictoral sampling of the things that I will miss when I go back to college:

  • Moe’s. If you’ve never had a Joey burrito, you simply have not lived. (Okay, Chipotle is an acceptable substitute.)


  • Pepper, my nine year old black lab. He’s getting up there in age, and it’s sad coming back every couple of months and seeing the results of his aging.


  • Television! Granted, I’m not a TV addict (I didn’t even shed a tear during the last episode of 24, or when Rachel and Ross ended up together during the Friends finale), but I definitely miss having cable at school. If anything, I’m going to miss falling asleep to late night TV shows like…

4ccb71b4e79c2-conan-nocturnal-500Now, ladies and gentlemen, I present…


  • Walking Pepper outside in sub-zero temperatures.
  • The amount of planning you have to do to arrange something with a group of friends at home. You have to find an open house, arrange rides, see who’s free, etc. whereas in college you can just walk down the hall to do the same thing.
  • Making food (or waiting to have food made, thanks mom!)–at home, I have to plan my meals ahead and worry about cooking (reheating) stuff. In college, I’m a 5 minute walk and a meal swipe away from all the food I want.
  • Shoveling! Luckily, the kind people at Cornell clear off all the paths for us.

Have a great weekend!

Long overdue: Responding to Student Comments Part Three

Happy Monday!

I feel like this is definitely long overdue, because I’ve let a couple of questions I’ve received from students pile up in my Gmail inbox…so here are the questions–and my responses–that I’ve received the past couple of weeks.

First off, I found your blog earlier today and promptly read every single entry. It’s really entertaining and informative (and I enjoy all the big red arrows!). Anyway, I do have a point. Like you, I applied ED to Cornell (the College of Human Ecology was the one for me). After receiving my acceptance almost a month ago, I’m starting to go stir-crazy! I’m ready to get out of here and set off for my four years at Cornell, and I’ve had it up to here with high school. Can you give any tips on making it through the rest of my senior year without going completely insane? How did you manage those last six months of incarceration?

First off, thanks for the compliments!

Knowing where you’re going in December of your senior year certainly is a great feeling, but it also leaves you with an inordinate amount of time when you’re essentially in limbo–you’ve basically “won” at high school as your hard work has paid off, but can’t officially move on just yet. Last year, I do remember a few people getting in early and saying how the remaining months of high school were going to be “hell.” My advice? Don’t let it be! In my opinion, senior year is one of the most fun times in your life as you don’t have to worry tremendously about grades, can enjoy your time with your longtime friends, and have a bunch to look forward to (proms, graduation parties, award ceremonies, senior outings, graduation, yadda yadda). Think about all the things you’ll miss next year–proximity to friends and family, relationships with teachers, the Wendy’s within walking distance of your house–and try to appreciate them as much as you can now. Good luck!

Oh, here’s a tip though…when you’re taking pictures before graduation, make sure that you are wearing the cap the right way or you risk looking like a bumbling idiot like myself. See:


David, Is on campus housing guaranteed all four years? and if not where do people go? what will you do?

Hey there, great question.

According to this somewhat old document, campus housing is guaranteed for freshman year and sophomore year only (assuming for sophomore year you abide by their deadlines). As you progress through your Cornell career, you’ll notice that people do tend to either go Greek or go off-campus, living in Collegetown apartments or other places close-by.

Alice Cook House on West Campus, one of the newest housing options

Alice Cook House on West Campus, one of the newest housing options

A lot of places cater to Cornell students–take Gun Hill for example.Personally, I have no idea what I’ll be doing junior or senior year…nor am I 100% sure what I’ll be doing next year (although I can tell you that West Campus housing is sounding very attractive…). If you have any other housing questions, I’m sure the wonderful people at Cornell housing would love to help you out–click here for info.

Hey David-I was accepted ED into Human Ecology! I’m very excited and eagerly awaiting my formal letter of acceptance (I checked the notice online to find out). I was just wondering – what’s next?

Hey, congrats! You and the first commenter on this post are practically related HumEc-er’s. What’s next, you ask? Enjoying senior year, that’s what’s next. Cornell doesn’t really do anything in the time between Early Decision notification and regular decision notification, so you can just hang back and wait for everyone else to get accepted in late-March to early-April, when you’ll receive a huge packet in the mail with housing and dining information, as well as lots of other good stuff. Oh, and enjoy the weather you’re experiencing, which, unless you’re from north of Ithaca, is probably a tad warmer than what you’ll be experiencing once you arrive!

Icicles in Ithaca

Icicles in Ithaca

Hi David! I’ve been reading your posts since forever.. and a quite random question just popped up the other day. I’m just curious as to why you’re the freshman that’s writing this blog– like did Cornell contact you and asked you to start a blog? or was there some sort of application involved? Does Cornell give opportunities like this to newly admitted students every year? Thanks for answering my somewhat-random question! 🙂

Well, I’m glad you asked. You see, not long after I was accepted, the ghost of Ezra Cornell came up to me one night at 3 am telling me that I had been the chosen freshman to blog for the Cornell website. I felt I had to oblige–who could resist this face?

Untitled-1Nahh, in reality I applied for the job after seeing this page on the Cornell website that said Life on the Hill was hiring. I loved reading other students’ blogs and it helped cement the idea in my mind that Cornell was the place for me, so I wanted to give back and do the same thing for prospective students.

Thanks for the questions as always, and feel free to shoot me any more that you guys might have by clicking here. Also, some of my fellow bloggers, like Cullen and Patricia who have just added a contact form, are eager to answer your questions as well…so fire away!