Ways that Cornell has made me stronger

One question that seems to get asked a lot by people is, well…What don’t I like about Cornell? It’s a totally valid, justified question. I mean, no place is perfect (except Olive Garden), and if you’re going to spend 4 years here you might as well know the con’s in addition to the pros. HOWEVER, I am not going to spend an entire post ranting about the place, but rather try to put a more positive spin on things.

So, let me present, without further ado…


It's hard looking this good, but I owe it all to the RPCC salads. What, you don't believe me?!

  1. Physically. While I might not look precisely as I pictured myself above (I know, sorry ladies), one thing about being at Cornell is that you have to walk–a lot. With a full backpack. Early in the morning. When it’s freezing out. Yeah, this can be ablog pain, especially since North Campus (freshman housing) is a long walk from most of the academic buildings, but you do end up building a fair amount of endurance. Someone once quipped that “no matter where you’re walking on Cornell’s campus, it’s always uphill.” While that may not be true, it does emphasize the point that there are a lot of hills to conquer-and the physical development of “Cornell Calves” is a guarantee.
  2. Academically. Let’s face it-nobody said Cornell classes were easy. But, being at such a tough school has made me stronger in two ways. Firstly, I’ve learned to make better use of my time (studying smarter, not longer), and secondly I’ve learned to adjust to un-stellar grades. In high school, I would have flipped out if I received a grade I was unhappy with. Here you are forced to accept it, and thus become more resilient. It doesn’t make you ambivalent towards getting bad grades per se, but rather accustoms you to the idea that things (tests) don’t always work out the way you planned.
Cornell_ Where Your Best Hasn_t Been Good Enough Since 1868-1

I think this Facebook group here describes it quite well...

3. Socially. In high school, my social life revolved around a group of friends who would get together for the most part every Friday and Saturday nights. No prior arrangements were necessary, we all kind of assumed we’d be getting together regardless. Here, it’s hard because many of your friends are in separate places–forcing you to take the initiative and arrange events/things to do. This has ultimately made me more open, social and flexible. This totally applies to professors, too-when you have an exam coming up in 2 days and you don’t understand the material, you simply can’t afford to be shy and skip office hours. Who knows? You might even hit it off with the professor…

4. Weather-wise. Yeah, if you haven’t gotten the memo, Ithaca isn’t exactly 90 degrees and sunny all year long. Heck, I think I mentioned earlier that I was looking at schools in Southern California and Florida when I was applying. While I hate the cold, spending time in Ithaca definitely has toughened me up, made me face my weakness, and thus has ultimately made me stronger.

Now, let’s answer a question that a pre-frosh submitted!

I was wondering how the professors are at Cornell. At some places, they are there for their own personal research or for other personal reasons.Some schools, though, have professors that will go absolutely out of their way to help you in any way they can. Under which category would you place Cornell professors?

As awesome as a question that is, I’m afraid it’s a little hard to answer. Cornell employs hundreds (thousands?) of faculty members-graduate students, tenured professors, etc.-across all seven undergraduate colleges, and to say that they vary would be putting it lightly. In my experience, though, I have not had a single professor who wasn’t caring or unwilling to talk outside of class. Sure, Cornell is a research institution, so you’re not going to be getting the same love and affection you’d be getting at a tiny liberal arts college…but if you come to Ithaca expecting that I personally don’t think you’ll be unsatisfied at all with the professors. Your mileage will definitely vary-so the best I can do is tell you that I’ve been impressed with the attention I’ve been given when I asked for it (even in large lecture classes). Oh, and don’t be afraid to use tools like RateMyProfessors and CourseRank to find the caring profs you so desire.

Yeah, you might not be getting all the love and attention as you would at a small school, but you also wouldn't be in a place where amazing research (i.e. the Mars Rover by Prof. Squyres) is taking place!

Yeah, you might not be getting all the love and attention as you would at a small school, but you also wouldn't be in a place where amazing research (i.e. the Mars Rover by Prof. Squyres) is taking place!

That’s about it for now, I’m sitting here in Olin library finishing this post up knowing that I have a lot more economics studying ahead of me for my exam Tuesday…so wish me luck, and absolutely get in touch with any other questions!

6 thoughts on “Ways that Cornell has made me stronger

  1. gina

    Somone I met went to cornell and funny thing he sold me his car that still has his sticker on it. I love it. I asked about Cornell and he said that his biggest complaint was not being able to get the exact classes he wanted but he dealt with it. He said he stopped trying so hard and eventually he would just get them or someone would drop out of a class and he would get that spot.

  2. John

    What does not break you makes you stronger and having a great school like Cornell on your resume will always help you in the future.

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