Monthly Archives: March 2011

Meeting Keith Olbermann!

Pick up any Cornell brochure, and you’ll see that the names of a couple prominent alums are always mentioned. Cornell students like to tout that quite a few successful people have attended the school–among them E.B. White, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Supreme Court Justice), Bill Nye the Science Guy, Bill Maher, and Christopher Reeve.  Just yesterday I had the chance of meeting another pretty famous Cornellian–national TV personality Keith Olbermann ’79. How did this happen, you ask?

Keith Olbermann Cornell

YES, the same Keith Olbermann that whipped out his Cornell diploma on air to fight back against Ann Coulter's "non-ivy" remarks

As I’ve referenced in an earlier post, I’m on the Cornell University Program Board (CUPB)–the group that brings entertainers, speakers, etc. to campus (not to be confusedwith the Concert Commission, which is music-only). This means that, when it was announced that prominent sportscaster, reporter, and media personality Keith Olbermann was coming to campus to speak, I was able to usher for the show and attend a meet-and-greet after with him. (For more details on the actual show, click here.)

The show–which entailed him talking about his time in Ithaca (and his not-so-stellar academic career), delivering a brief politically-charged speech, and hosting a question and answer session–was very well-done. I’m not going to go into my political views here, but I can certainly say that regardless of whether you’re conservative or liberal, it was cool to see a man of such power and influence speak.

So anyways, after  the show he stuck around to sign some autographs for the general public, then attended the reception. He was very social, and eager to meet everyone. He made a couple joking comments to me about the size of my CUPB polocountdown_with_keith_olbermann-show(okay…maybe I should have ordered a medium instead of a large), then I went up to him and talked for a little bit (about what, I’m not really sure..I was kind of starstruck). I remember mentioning something along the lines of  “Hey! I’m a blogger for the Cornell website…mind if I snap a picture with you for it?” and he was more than willing to do so. For such a powerful, prominent guy, I was really shocked to see how much he was interested in the students at his alma mater. Here’s the photo:


So, I guess I’ve had a pretty star-studded freshman year! If you remember, I said a while back how I happened to run into Stephen Colbert after the Rally to Restore Sanity.

In other news, I’ve been busy lately with work. Papers and exams keep piling up, and I’m definitely plowing through it all–slowly but surely. Hey, if Keith Olbermann never went to class–and often scheduled classes that met during the same time just because he could–maybe I won’t be over my head after all.

Happy Wednesday, and Cornell Decision Day!

Back in Action!

Now that Spring Break is wrapping up, I have but a few hours until I board the bus to Ithaca. This week has definitely been a nice change from the papers/prelims/commitments, and while I can’t say I’m jumping for joy at the prospect of doing work again…I am looking forward to the last part of my freshman year!

This break involved, among other things:

  • Reuniting with old friends, and going to an event put on by my high school
  • Seeing American Idiot on Broadway (it was great!):


  • Being one of those people you hear about on the news that waited outside an Apple Store for an iPad 2 in the early morning. Hey, in my defense, I had dropped my sister off at school early in the morning and didn’t feel like going back to bed. It was honestly a lot of fun, and now I have a brand new shiny toy to surf the web with in Libe Cafe!
Hey, I'll be reading Life on the Hill blogs on this-it's practically an essential business tool. I guess that means I should bill it to the Office of Web Communications.

Hey, I'll be reading Life on the Hill blogs on this-it's practically an essential business tool! I guess that means I should bill it to the Office of Web Communications...

  • Finalized a part what I’ll be doing this summer: taking Calculus I at the University of Hartford (because logarithms are MUCH more fun than surfing–WOOHOO!).

So…it was a productive and relaxing break! I’m off to Ithaca soon and have a busy week ahead work-wise…so I’ll just have to take things day by day.

OH-and good luck to all the Cornell regular decision applicants that find out their decision March 30th! Regardless of your decision, stay confident that things will work out in the end.

Spring Break!


As of 1:10 pm, I am officially on vacation. Yes, that’s right–I’m off 9 days from school. No prelims. No homework. No stress. No showering (just kidding).

I am REALLY, REALLY excited for break. It’s interesting, though–I was having a debate with a friend earlier and I couldn’t decide, at this point freshman year, whether I’m excited to go home…or to not have any work. If you had talked to me first semester, I would have said I couldn’t wait to be back in familiar territory. Now that I’m more adjusted to Cornell, I’m wondering if I would be just as happy staying in Ithaca without any assignments.

Pop quiz: Who knows what today is?

a) Queen Latifah’s birthday
b) Anniversary of the Oil Expropriation (Mexican holiday)
c) Dragon Day 2011 at Cornell
d) All of the above

Answer: D! Today marked the celebration of Dragon Day at Cornell, an annual tradition where first-year students in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning build a dragon, dress up and parade around campus, then supposedly set it on fire in front of everyone (though that last part was notably absent this year because of strict fire codes).

And don’t forget to celebrate Queen Latifah’s birthday–imagine the perilous state of world civilization we’d be living in if Bringing Down the House, Hairspray, and Barbershop 2 didn’t exist.


Although I had two classes today–Bizarre Biology of Bugs and French–I was still able to catch a good portion of the celebration.

It’s funny, you can definitely notice the happy, giddy mood felt all over campus the days before break–people’s spirits are higher, you get more people willing to hold the door for you, say bless you if you sneeze, etc. I could just be imagining it, or it could be that I just had a Sociology exam Monday.

Here are some Dragon Day pictures:





As far as my life story goes, the next couple of days involves sleeping in, eating home cooking, reuniting with missed Connecticut friends, and enjoying my time off. If the urge compels me, I might also be one of those lunatics waiting in line for an iPad 2. I do have a little work; my Microeconomics chapters aren’t going to read themselves, and I’m giving a French presentation the Monday I get back. But all in all, it should be a nice, well-deserved week off.

Various assorted thoughts

Hello, internet!

Before I begin, I really want to thank all of you that sent e-mails and left sympathy comments in response to my last post. Losing a loved one is never easy, and the pain never really subsides…but, in times of despair, it definitely helps when you know that there are people out there that care about you. I did mention in the last post that Tuesday the 8th was my birthday (yes, International Women’s Day), and I want to share what one awesome reader made on Photoshop for me:


I'm lactose intolerant...but that's totally beyond the point. This cake would definitely be delicious! Thank you, loyal commenter!

My 3 prelims last week went well enough I believe…and at Cornell, well-enough is “great.” As I’ve alluded to before, coming to the Big Red, you definitely have to change your mentality about grades in order to stay healthy. Take my economics exam, for example. I seemingly did everything right in advance–asked my TA all the questions I had about the material, went over all the practice problems, and spent a great deal of time reviewing. I got my grade back, and I got 15 questions right out of 20–a 75%, which rounds to a B-. Sure, it’s discouraging to not exactly get an optimal grade when I studied my butt off, but such is life at Cornell. Adopt this mentality before arriving on campus and you’ll be golden. Also note that your first prelim grades don’t determine everything–I got a 71 on my first math exam last semester, but ended up with a solid A in the course. Bottom line: don’t flip out.

Keeping in line with the title of this post, here’s another assorted thought:

Let me randomly explain to you the wonderful world of iClickers in lecture halls.

So you’re in your 330 person sociology lecture learning about the wonders of societal derationalization, right? Then, out of nowhere, the professor wants to hear your input on the matter. How do you survey hundreds of students? With the iClicker, of course! Much like the “Ask the Audience” feature on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, we see a question on the PowerPoint and choose A, B, C, D, or E. Then, BAM! The class results are then displayed on the screen to analyze as follows:


Okay, maybe I’m the only nerd that finds this stuff exciting.

To wrap up, I want to remind you of the dilemma I faced a couple weeks ago which involved getting the wrong sandwich (see the post here for a refresher). I promised to post the results, along with the best “What Would Ezra Have Done” responses.

Here are the results:


Well, I can sure as heck sleep better knowing that 61.1% of you agree with my decision. And to the 25% that wondered how crispy the bacon was-the answer is moderately crispy.

Here were some of the best & funniest comments I received regarding what Ezra would have done:

“Ezra would have gone to Wegmans.”

“Ezra would have eaten the sandwich, knowing that Andrew White, who’s sitting across from him on the Arts Quad, wouldn’t see him.”

“I would found a campus eatery where any person could chow down on anyone else’s entree.”

Here’s one that actually made perfect sense:

“Being a shrewd businessman as well as having roots in the farming community, Ezra would have known that the sandwich’s rightful owner was probably in the same boat and that, had you bothered to return it, it most likely would have gone to waste, as they surely would not have ALSO made the trek back out in the snow. Plus: Dude loved bacon.”



A rough couple of days ahead…

This is the part of college that you don’t see looking through any picturesque, happy brochure. Let me explain. (As I write this, I’m on an awesome “Cornell Campus to Campus” bus to New York City which has internet.)

BusComp-Driverside-final-layout.jpg (10667×2995)

I've heard President Skorton and various Cornell deans take these. Maybe I'm sitting next to one right now?

This week and next will definitely be hard for me, to say the least. On Monday, I was working diligently in my room on some work, when I got a call from my mom back in Connecticut that my great uncle had passed away. I had known him my whole life, and hearing this news was certainly upsetting, to say the least, as I was very close to him. Not to mention, hearing this news in college without much of an immediate support system was reeeally hard, because I didn’t have familial bonds surrounding me–I’m all the way out in Ithaca by myself. It was even harder knowing that I had to pump out two papers for two separate classes before I could leave for the funeral.

I learned that the funeral was scheduled for Thursday (tomorrow), and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I would go. Only problem: My economics exam (my first grade for the semester) is scheduled for Thursday evening–so I had to get in touch with the professor and TA to let them know that I wouldn’t be able to take the exam. They were very sympathetic, but let me know that the only make-up exam is March 7th, this Monday–during the one time I’m supposed to be online to secure my housing for next year!

Another problem: I already have a French exam next Monday, so I’ll have to take 2 exams that day. And I have an entomology exam next Wednesday. Oh, and Tuesday is my birthday. Not to mention, I have to keep up with all my other classes, club obligations, etc.

Needless to say, I’m going to be very somber and stressed these next couple of days. Rest in peace, Uncle Sol–we love and miss you.

I understand that this post doesn’t exactly mesh with some of the other ones I’ve written, considering my last “big problem” involved a wrong sandwich…but the whole idea of the Life on the Hill blogging project is to accurately portray my life to the internet–and this is what’s going on with me right now.

Hopefully my next post will be more upbeat! Have a good weekend.