Monthly Archives: April 2012

Speaking in Lecture Halls

Let’s face it, prospective students. I love Cornell, but it is NOT  like one of those quaint New England liberal arts colleges with a few hundred students. If you’re taking introductory courses here (as you will your freshman year), with the exception of your writing seminar you better believe that you’ll be in large lecture halls.

Admittedly, I love lectures. What could be better than sitting back, listening to a brilliant scholar preach about something that they love for an hour? I treat it like a show, and always look forward to getting comfortable in a seat and taking notes.

But speaking in lecture halls, say, in a class of 600 kids? That’s just not something people love doing. Yet, just recently, your humble blogger rose to the challenge.

To set the scene: in AEM 1200, Introduction to Business Management, we have to analyze articles of the Wall Street Journal on a weekly basis (pertaining to whatever we’re discussing in class), and write papers on what we’ve learned. The professor is jubilant and loves interactivity with the class, so it’s a pretty unique classroom experience. Last week’s subject was human resource management, so I wrote about employee happiness.

At the beginning of class on Wednesday, the professor asked someone in the class to rise up to the challenge and speak about their article.

“Who wants to tell us what they wrote about?” he asked.

There was silence, among the hundreds of kids enrolled in the class.

“Anyone?”

Still silence.

After he asked one more time, and the entire auditorium remained quiet, we waited for a period of 10 seconds in silence (no, I’m not exaggerating) until it was made clear that he wasn’t moving on until someone spoke.

Silence again.

“I…I have an article I can discuss,” I randomly blurted out.

As I threw my hand into the air, all eyes turned on me as I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to say. I managed to concoct a statement about Bank of America and employee satisfaction, which I hope made sense at the time.

The professor said something like “thank you, good contribution,” then the class moved on. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I could slide back into the sea of other students. I’m glad I did it, though.

Moral of the story? Push yourself to do things you may not be comfortable with. Public speaking is always important to practice…

Mastering the TCAT

One interesting thing about the Cornell college experience is that, because you’re starting at square one–knowing nothing and nobody when you first step foot on campus–it’s really easy to chart your progress and development as time passes. As I finish my second year at Cornell, it’s cool to think about all the friendships I’ve forged, the progress in organizations I’ve made, and how I’ve made strides in “comfortability” around the Ithaca area.

The TCAT bus system is a prime example of this. (Think I’m nuts? Read on.)

So if you’ve made the trek to campus, it’s pretty much a certainty that you’ve seen those blue TCAT buses swarming around the Ithaca area. They’re basically impossible to miss, as their bright blue colors and large advertisements draw your eyes.

Yet, when I arrived at Cornell in Fall 2010, I remember being intimidated by the TCAT system. Sure, I might be pathetic, but let me explain. I hadn’t familiarized myself with the routes, and when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere without your support system as a freshman, you don’t want to get on a bus and not know where you’re going. I also didn’t realize we had free rides our first year, and thought we needed a special card to board. Plus, the myriad of route numbers confused me, and I never wanted to hold up the bus by asking the driver where he was headed. All of this combined, let’s just say I lived a sedentary life on North Campus freshman year and chose to walk to class most of the time.

Now…

Fast forward to today, where I’m a TCAT whiz. As I work at the Daily Sun’s business office in downtown Ithaca, I rely on the 10 and the 30–which you can pick up at Sage, Anabel Taylor, or C-Town–to take me to the Seneca Street station. I’ve learned other routes, too. Wanna go to Chipotle on the weekend? Take the 30 to the Commons, then hop on the 15 Southside Shopper (but be careful, as it only comes hourly!). Need to navigate campus? The 81, 82, and 83 are your best bet during the day, while the 90, 92, and 93 will work at night. Be careful of the 36 and 37, which might take you to Lansing.

See, people? This is progress! Come to Cornell and you, too, can memorize TCAT routes! (See here to get started.)

Plus, another pro-tip: TCAT drivers are the nicest to pedestrians and usually let you cross the street…which can’t be said about many crazy drivers.

REALLY?! Cornell Edition

I’ve frequently talked about my experiences with the Cornell University Program Board, as I think choosing, setting up for, and meeting the various celebrities and entertainers that come to campus is a pretty cool gig. Recently, Seth Meyers (of Saturday Night Live fame) came to campus, and l ushered the show in Bailey Hall; after, he did a question and answer session for CUPB, and was incredibly outgoing.

(I asked him if his fame allowed him to live a normal life and go out in public to restaurants, parties, etc. without being mobbed. He said he is able to lead a normal life for the most part, though people tend to think he’s BJ Novak from The Office).

Meyers does a segment on SNL’s weekend update called REALLY?!, where he pokes fun at various things that just don’t seem right or are comical. (See here for an example, where he and Amy Poehler blast Governor Blagojevich.)

I’ve realized that I’ve had quite a few experiences at Cornell that make me wonder, “REALLY?!” so I figure I’ll spout some of them here.

I was sitting in my business management lecture the other day, when I looked a few seats in front of me, and saw a girl wearing headphones and watching videos as the professor was lecturing. I was like, REALLY?! What on earth is the point of attending lecture when you’re not going to pay attention in the slightest?! Why didn’t you just stay in bed?!

On April Fools Day, my friend woke up bright and early to take a shower. After a few seconds, he realized something just wasn’t right. When he took off his shower head, he noticed someone crammed a bunch of tea leaves in it. REALLY?!? Actually…that’s awesome. Cornellians can be pretty crafty on April Fools Day, and the fact that my poor friend took a nice hot shower in brewed tea exemplifies this!

In my nighttime class on Cornell history, we learned that back in the early days there was an ice-toboggan slide that students rode on.  REALLY?! Why can’t we have one of those today?

As I write this, I’m sitting on a bus heading back to Ithaca after I spent the holiday weekend home in Connecticut. I got in the car at about noon to head to the bus station in New York, and am scheduled to arrive in Ithaca at about 8:00 tonight (the bus has made multiple stops as well). Meanwhile, I’ve been in touch with my friend at George Washington University who took a flight at 2:10pm and landed at 3pm in D.C. REALLY?! Why is Cornell too close to fly to from Connecticut, yet too far to comfortably drive?!

I live in Alice Cook House on West Campus, and like it a lot. However, one gripe I have is with the elevator–namely, that it’s the slowest thing in existence! There’s an area between floors where it always stops for 15 seconds before the doors open, and if I calculated I’m sure I’d learn that I’ve spent hours waiting for the thing to open. REALLY?! Why is the elevator so slow, especially when the building is brand new?!

Before spring break, I was sitting in a class when about 20-30 scantily clad architects that were painted green stormed into the lecture hall , interrupted the professor, and started shrieking and running around. As it was a publicity stunt for Dragon Day, the professor took it very well and laughed. But REALLY?! Who wakes up one morning and says to themselves, I’m going to get naked, paint myself green and run around campus for a day?!

Are these incidents as hysterically funny as Seth Meyers’? Probably not. But I hope I’ve showed you that life at Cornell is anything but normal.

Also, for those prospective employers, professors, and the like reading this: I’m not actually this whiny…this list took quite a bit of effort to come up with. I promise!