Take Five: Top 5 places to study

I’m using the word study here to mean anything from reviewing material for exams to working on problem sets.  I often work on problem sets with fellow ChemEs, so some of the places I’m about to mention are more suitable for group work than quiet studying, but here’s where I get most of my work done:

1. My dorm room.  I am capable of getting work done in my dorm room, though it is sometimes not the best place for me to work (two words: The Internet).  My desk is also very inconveniently set up backwards because I’m left handed.  However, my dorm room is often the quietest place for me to work and I have all my textbooks/notes/laptop/food with me.

Yes, my main wall decoration is a periodic table

2. Lounge/common areas.  As far as I know, all of the dorms at Cornell have lounges and/or common areas for people to work.  Last year the dorm I lived in had a study lounge where my homework group for Intro to ChemE did a lot of our homework.  It was nice because if you were in the study lounge you were expected to be doing work, but complete silence wasn’t enforced.  This year there’s an area that can be used for work in every hallway as well as study rooms that I have spent a lot of time in doing Mass and Energy projects.

3. Duffield Atrium.  Duffield Hall is a relatively new construction on the engineering quad that has an atrium that’s basically a large space with a lot of tables.  I personally don’t work in Duffield if I have a lot of work or an urgent deadline to meet because a lot of people walk through Duffield and it tends to be more social in general.

4. Olin Hall/ChemE lounge.  Now that I’m officially affiliated, I have card access to the fabulous windowless ChemE lounge located in the basement of Olin.  Other than the fact that it’s a windowless basement lounge, it’s not a terrible place to work.  Sometimes you can also find a classroom that isn’t being used.

One of the Olin classrooms

5. Office hours.  I am aware that office hours is not a specific place.  What I mean by this entry is that you can frequently find other confused members of your classes at office hours.  You can then spend the next three hours being confused and very slowly making your way through whatever painful problem set you have been assigned.  I can speak from experience, because I have spent large amounts of time at office hours (my new record is five hours at one stretch for one class), and I really don’t know how it would have been possible to get through certain problems without going to office hours.

Take Five: Top 5 places to eat on campus

I’m borrowing the name of a candy bar and a Dave Brubeck song written in 5/4 to introduce my new series about my opinions of the best (and worst) things about Cornell.  To kick things off, today I present my Top 5 places to eat on campus, in no particular order.  Because food is important.

1. Ivy Room.  Being on central campus and near to Olin Hall (the Chemical Engineering building where I have the majority of my classes) is always a plus, but their food isn’t bad either.  They have a variety of themed stations, including a salad bar, pseudo-Mexican food, and pancakes.  My personal favorites from Ivy Room are grilled cheese (with or without tomato), their Thai peanut noodles, and the chicken quesadilla.  I’ve also heard that their salads are good and the empanadas are pretty terrible.

2. Trillium.  Trillium is the other major food court style dining location on campus.  In addition to the typical salads and quesadilla/sandwich stations, they also have noodles and a “special of the day.”  Their beef noodle soup is surprisingly good and the special gives you a variety of food (including an entrée, a couple of sides, and dessert, my favorite meal of the day).

3. Cornell Dairy Bar.  Cornell Dairy Ice Cream.  That is all.

Seriously, though.  After one and half years of depravation no Cornell Dairy products, I finally got to try Cornell ice cream.  On what was quite possibly the coldest day of two weeks ago.  For my first taste of Cornell ice cream, I decided to be adventurous and chose chocolate.  Plain chocolate, in a dish.  I’m not an expert but it tasted pretty good to me.

4. House dinner.  In general, I’m enjoying the convenience of having a dining hall in my dorm, but specifically, house dinner can be kind of fun.  Once a week for an hour, the West Campus dining halls only let in current or past residents for dinner.  They put tablecloths on the tables and set each place with a glass and utensils.  The food tends to be better than what they serve on a normal day and they usually have a theme for the night, like Italian food or a Thanksgiving meal.

5. The Olin Hall vending machine in the basement.  Okay, now I’m just kidding.  I have actually not bought anything from the vending machine in the basement, though I have seen it.