Monthly Archives: April 2014

Cornell Plantations: How Have I NEVER Been Here Before?

As a second semester senior, I like to think that I know my way around the campus like the back of my hand. But, I gotta admit, this semester has still been a learning experience! First, in late January, I didn’t know where my AEM strategy course was held–as I wasn’t familiar with Corson-Mudd Hall. And, most recently (with regards to my experience Sunday), I learned something new as well.cgardens03

Namely, last weekend I explored, in-depth, the Cornell Plantations!

For those that aren’t acutely familiar with the property, here’s the run-down. Cornell owns acres of botanical gardens on the east side of campus, with a specialty in native species to the state–and it is an absolutely beautiful area. There are ponds, woods, and all sorts of other natural features, and it is definitely a tourist attraction. Plus, as part of Cornell’s land grant mission, Cornell Plantations has a commitment to cultivation, preservation, and conservation.

As it was really nice out, my friend and I decided that visiting the property would be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and definitely a great alternative to going to an indoors gym.plantations

I can’t exactly recall the exact path we took, as we were basically meandering–and we had to ask 2-3 people how to get to where we wanted to be. But I can say that we saw this awesome pond with a wooden deck on it (see photo) and I hit a really loud bell at the top of some lookout. Here’s a picture of me as we hit our destination, courtesy of my friend–all other pics were taken from Cornell.edu. (Please excuse the Chipotle t-shirt I was wearing.)

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In all honesty, I’m ashamed that I haven’t been here earlier. The Plantations are highly-renowned, and look like a great place to explore even further. It also makes me understand the advice that many have told me–that plantations-1spending a summer in Ithaca is a really positive experience. Exploring the region’s beauty in this amazing weather, the picturesque views have admittedly made me proud to call central New York my “other” home for the last 4 years. As I graduate in May, I think this was my last frontier, if you will, of the campus to explore; I think I’ve covered most everything else that I need to see. I also figured this would be an appropriate thing to write about on Earth Day, so there’s that…

I can’t believe it’s almost May!

Cornell: The Land of Paradoxes

Given that my last few posts have been pretty heavy–touching upon the fact that my college career is coming to an end–I figure I’ll write a post that’s a little lighter in content.

Over my last 4 years, I’ve realized that Cornell is definitely a place of paradoxes, in many ways. A lot of things that you observe here can definitely make you think, “hmm…”

Don’t believe me? Here are a few examples:

Cornell has one of the best facilities design programs in the world, where renowned ergonomic experts research all aspects of building planning and managementmvr pic

…yet the building that it’s in, Martha Van Rensselaer, is one of the most confusing buildings I have ever been in. EVER. My favorite part of MVR: taking the elevator from one third floor to another third floor. See this post, where I got lost in it 2 years ago.

Mann Library is doing renovations to move an academic department to the fourth floor of the library, which is an interesting spot for offices as the higher floors constitute a lot of the silent study space…Cornell_Mann_Library_Interior_5

…and guess what department it is? Communication. (Okay, I get that a lot of communication isn’t “spoken,” per se, but it seems interesting to put a department with course offerings like “oral communication” in a location that was previously silent.)

ILR’s huge lecture hall was generously donated by the PepsiCo company, hence the nameIVS305 of Ives 305 as the “PepsiCo Auditorium” portrayed on a large sign outside the classroom…

…except signs explicitly say that you can’t eat or drink in it. Not even Pepsi products, I assume.

Driving up to Ithaca, it’s clear from the miles and miles of farmland you pass that Cornell’s in an area with plenty of space and cornfields…

Yet, despite our “middle of nowhere” location, finding parking here is nearly impossible. I can’t even count the number of people I know that have told me about getting a parking ticket. Though our campus is large enough to have its own zip code, somehow, successful parking requires a combination of patience, prayer, and luck.

Entering as a freshman, you’ll notice quickly that most people call RPCC’s Bear Necessities food location “Nasties“…

Except the food there isn’t nasty at all. It’s actually fantastic, and definitely was worth justifying to my tumblr_min01zgyGA1s17hwuo1_1280parents why I was out of BRB’s early in the semester… despite a generous meal plan.

If you could imagine a campus building that did not have windows, you’d assume it’d possibly house a department that’s related to a social science, or maybe something quantitative…right?

Then help me figure out why Bradfield houses the Atmospheric Sciences and meteorology offerings.  You’d think that out of all academic options, the one which has a specialty in weather forecasting would at least include darn windows outside. Bradfield’sdisplayImage website says its because the rooms are climate controlled, but why this building-and this department’s location in it-over all others? Fun fact: CNN recently ranked it one of the nation’s most spectacular campus buildings. Just saying, I’d love to hear the author’s thought processes behind that one…  

With its unique “any person…any study” mantra, its commitment to diversity, and the flexible curricula across colleges, Cornell prides itself on accommodating students with all sorts of varying academic and extracurricular talents…

…as long as they can pass a rigorous swim test (which constitutes numerous laps in an Olympic-sized pool). There are some exemptions-if you’re a transfer student, you don’t have to take it, and if you fail the test or just flat out don’t know how toskorton-1.jpg swim, you can enroll in PE 1100: Beginning Swimming. You may find it quirky, but I’ve known students that genuinely cannot swim and were worried about passing to graduate.

Here’s one that I began to appreciate after taking The First American University, aka #AMST2001 (current students, do yourself a favor and take the class).cornell Take a look at the Cornell seal and tell me…

…why, out of all the Ivy League schools to have a picture of a sun on it, is it the one that’s located in one of the cloudiest places I know…  Ithaca, New York? Okay, Brown has a sun on its seal, too…but the point remains.

Finally… there’s been one man on national television that has consistently perpetuated stereotypes of Cornell alums as being cocky, egotistical jerks. The university would probably6a00d8341c51c053ef01310f84cd3e970c want to distance themselves from him as much as possible, right?

…Nah, we ask him to speak at graduation instead. In all seriousness, though, I couldn’t be more excited that Ed Helms (!!!) is speaking at my commencement ceremony.

Cue the disclaimer: While all these are true to the best of my knowledge, no… I don’t actually harbor any resentment towards any of these things. (Except the 2 third floors in MVR thing…come on.)

Things I (May Not) Miss: Ithaca Weather

I don’t think I’ve ever written a post this short in my 4 years as a Cornell blogger. But, sometimes, to get a point across, pictures work so much better than words. This, my friends, is mid-April. In Ithaca. (Taken from the Statler Library, where I’m working on a business ethics paper, and where everyone seems to be staring outside.) Full context: It was t-shirt and shorts weather yesterday…

InstagramAnd here was a picture I posted on Facebook on April 23 of my sophomore year:

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So, prospective students, Cornell offers an amazing college experience and unlimited opportunities…but know what you’re getting into with the weather.

The Final Stretch of my College Career

As I write this, I’m sitting here in Mann Lobby, relaxing after walking around the campus for a bit. It’s absolutely beautiful out–just in time for the prospective students to get a distorted perception of Ithaca’s weather. I’m realizing that this year, and my college experience, is slowly winding down. To be frank, this is nuts. I can’t believe that it’s almost over!

Here are a few thoughts that’ve been on my mind:

1. Perspectives are a funny thing. Remember your first day of high school, when you were nervous about how much bigger everyone seemed than you? Or, [if you’re touring college campuses,] remember agquad03what it felt like when you realized everyone on a campus was so grown up? I can’t believe I once felt that college students were so old…because when I look around campus, all I see is a population of undergraduates, roughly 75% of which are younger than me. I just want to yell at these darn youngin’s to get off my lawn (okay, maybe I don’t feel that old).

2. I can’t mess up all these “end of college” tasks and decisions. You may think I’m crazy, but I actually have a lot stuff to do. Examples? CALS post-graduate surveys. Get a cap and gown. Decide on a yearbook. Look at diploma frames and rings. Coordinate graduation weekend. Plan my Senior Days schedule. On a related note, I have no idea if people really get class rings…

3. Update on academics: As much fun as it’d be to write that I’m taking it easy, it  wouldn’t be like me to slack off–especially given the fact that I’ve worked hard for 7 semesters and want to end strong. I’ve been busy IMG_6746with problem sets, papers, projects, etc…but I can’t complain too much. My schedule this semester isn’t too stressful.

4. The “wow” factor on this campus never goes away. You’d think that almost as an alum, I’d get used to seeing the sights around the campus…but a lot of the views still amaze me. Case in point: walking around the footbridge area behind MVR and seeing the waterfalls under sunny blue skies…I couldn’t help but stop and gaze at it.

That’s about it for now…congrats to all the newly admitted students!