Monthly Archives: March 2012

Spring Break Adventures

As I’m writing this, it’s 4:45 PM on a Sunday and I am exhausted. I just got back to Ithaca–I left my home in Connecticut at 7:30 in the morning, and made it back around 3 in the afternoon via bus. I had a great week off, though!

It’s always interesting to hear about people’s spring break plans, particularly at Cornell. A lot of students, particularly those whose homes are far away- have a tough choice. Do you travel home, and have a low-key week reuniting with family that you haven’t seen since January? Or, do you travel to exotic destinations with other Cornellians? I chose the latter this break, and really enjoyed myself. 

Believe it or not, these tropical getaways are very common among upper-level students. In an icebreaker session before class began, one professor I had asked the class where everyone was headed. A lot of people mentioned warm places like Punta Cana or that they were going cruising.

Anyways; 2 close friends and I spent the week on the sun-drenched beaches of Cancun, Mexico. Calling it a “break” is a little deceiving, as our days were jam-packed; we did jet skiing and SCUBA diving, played games on the beach, and explored the area in-depth.

Is it going to be a little difficult getting back into the swing of things, particularly when I have 2 upcoming exams and multiple papers to complete? Yes. But I also know that this time will fly by. I can’t believe that the summer’s almost here, and I’m almost halfway through my Cornell undergraduate experience…

Time to cross off another stereotypical college activity…CLASS ON THE QUAD!

I’ve heard many people say that Cornell offers the quintessential college experience. After all, we have world-renowned professors, beautiful ivy-covered buildings, multiple sprawling quads, and almost any extracurricular activity that you could imagine.

(Okay, I’ll stop sounding like I’m leading a Cornell information session now.)

I like to think I’ve crossed off many items on the list of stereotypical things that all college students should do. I’ve gone to Cornell homecoming games, thrown a frisbee on nice days, pulled late nights in the library, and gone to professors’ office hours.

One thing that’s so college that I’ve never experienced was to have class held outside in a circle on the quad. Doesn’t that just sound like an idyllic college activity, the kind of thing that’s pictured on the front of a college admissions brochure?

Yesterday, it happened. I walked into my 11:40 English seminar, and the professor–a NYTimes bestselling author–was so excited about the weather that she led us outside, and we discussed historical fiction in the sun while birds were chirping and people were running around (not unlike the photo to the right…which is not us by the way).

Okay, time to check “have class outside” off my college bucket list…

Birthdays in College

Whoa.

On March 8, I turned 20. This means I’m halfway to 40, a year away from the drinking age, and am no longer a teenager. I’m still kind of in shock that I’m that old; 20 always seemed so far away.

The thing about birthdays in college is that, well, they’re definitely different from birthdays in high school. It’s not that I don’t have awesome friends here who recognized it–because I certainly do–but rather, it’s just a much more low-key feeling. Sure, you get a ridiculous amount of wall posts from your friends and family, and amazing packages from relatives (among the highlights: a box of Dr. Pepper Jelly Beans), but for the most part…it’s just another day of classes and work. Everyone else is doing their own thing, too, and life went pretty much as it always does.

So what did I do? Well, I had two 75 minute classes, went to the library, and had dinner in Alice Cook House like I always do. If I was at home, I might’ve been going out to dinner with my family, or done something else special.

At the same time, though, I don’t feel like I need all of the celebratory stuff that I received the first 18 years of my life. It’s a special day, sure, but meh…I’m becoming more than content with heartfelt messages rather than birthday parties/events that characterized my childhood.

I guess I am growing up…

Working for The Cornell Daily Sun

One great thing about Cornell is that there are a plethora of clubs to join. Plus, it’s always easy to get involved in new ones and make new friends (granted, most organizations recruit more heavily at the beginning of the semester). As a business-minded student, I recently decided to join the Cornell Sun newspaper‘s online business department…and it’s been a great experience.

I was attracted to the Sun because I love media and figured it’d be fascinating to get involved with the 13th best college newspaper in the country! I don’t mind working there three days a week, but the only downside is that the offices are located in downtown Ithaca:

But even that’s not too big of a deal.

So what have I been doing there as of late? As a junior associate tasked with increasing online advertising sales, I’ve been reaching out to businesses around the Ithaca community (via phone and email), asking they’d like to buy ads on our site. It’s exciting when someone responds ‘yes,’ and I’ve learned to deal with it when someone says ‘no.’ While it’s desk work, I’ve found it a lot of fun, and it’s a great place to hang out at. Plus, everyone’s really nice, and business hours are from 3-5 pm on weekdays–those hours of the day that I’d be relaxing from class anyways.

Since I haven’t done this in a while, let’s answer a question from a reader:

Hi, I’m trying to transfer in next fall as a sophomore and I was wondering if you could describe your general workload? As well as the campus atmosphere. In terms of sororities and fraternities, and how prevalent they are on campus. What is your view on Greek life? Would it help a transfer to settle in socially more? What is the general feel of the student body? Political views, religious views, ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. Thank you!

Thanks for your question! It’s hard to describe a “typical” Cornell workload, as the amount of work varies by person, college, and major. Generally, the architecture and engineering schools are known for lots of work, as are math/computer science majors and the science/pre-med track (often pursued through Arts and Sciences or CALS). As I’m writing this, I’m sitting next to my engineer friend studying dynamics (which he says is really difficult), and a pre-med friend anxiously studying for his orgo exam next Tuesday. In general, I’d say that while classes certainly require a lot of time and effort, if you put in a decent amount of work you should do fine. People still have free time, and join all sorts of organizations.

In terms of Greek life, I believe the numbers show that about 1/3 of Cornell goes Greek. It’s certainly prevalent on campus, and it might be a good idea to check out the frats/sororities if you’re a transfer student and are looking for a “group” of sorts. Personally, I’m in a business fraternity and find that’s enough Greek for me. My friends and I are on west campus, and are very comfortable.

The campus atmosphere? Cornell is very much a city, so it’s hard to stereotype. We have active Cornell Democrats and Cornell Republicans clubs. Students of any religion or ethnicity can most likely find organizations full of similar people (see the list of 966 organizations here), and there are students of all socioeconomic statuses.

Bottom line? Come to Cornell and see for yourself! We’re pretty diverse, in all meanings of the word.

Oh, and if you’re ever looking to advertise on CornellSun.com…I’m your guy.