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Observations and a Question from a Transfer

Cayuga Red MMXICayuga Red MMXI Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
edited January 2009 in Cornell University
I'd guessed beforehand that Cornell would have a strong air of class-consciousness but the intensity of social stratification here is depressing. Endemic social climbing. Everyone walks around with a pathetic impassivity. Most girls won't even give you the time of day unless you have letters, which isn't profound but is confusing considering that this perceived superiority is not based on attractiveness, intelligence, wit, or charm. Wealth perhaps?

I attribute many of Cornell's social deficiencies on the Greek system (which I'm not categorically opposed to). It just has too much power over this school's social life. I had what I now realize are delusions of an eclectic group of smart, worldly kids--which were shattered fast. Don't get me wrong, there are crazy-smart, interesting, witty people here. It seems they're just few and far between in a huge homogeneous blob of Northface.

I'm not a recluse nor am I awkward, but it's just very difficult to meet people here because of the intense cliquiness, reinforced by the Greek system. I like to go out and socialize and meet girls but that seems hard, especially since I decided not to rush. Obviously had I rushed and pledged, I'd have a tight group of drinking buddies but I could've done that at my state's flagship and pocketed the $75K difference.

I'm trying not to make this sound pathetic, but my question is: how/where do you meet people as an independent? Clubs haven't really produced anything because there's always a small group of people who already know each other. Most of my friends are a product of physical proximity not common interest, which I'd like to change. I'm a sophomore and this is only my 2nd semester here, so I concede that I'm being a little premature but I've talked to a bunch of other transfers who feel the same way.
Post edited by Cayuga Red MMXI on

Replies to: Observations and a Question from a Transfer

  • grantortuegrantortue Registered User Posts: 1,034 Senior Member
    i hope talking makes you feel better
  • Cayuga Red MMXICayuga Red MMXI Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Talking is what this forum is for. And what the hell would you know about Cornell? You don't go here.
  • applejackapplejack Registered User Posts: 1,483 Senior Member
    You sound a lot like me (I was a transfer to Cornell and share a lot of your values). I hear ya on the Northface blob, but I don't think the quirky, interesting people are as few and far between as you think.

    If anything, I found Cornell to be a really odd mix of completely different social strata crammed together. It takes effort, but I had essentially 3 sets of friends with completely different interests and values - none of which fit the Northface blob.

    The Greek system can be overwhelming or you can hardly notice it. I avoided a lot of that culture and ran with people who went to art house movies or tap danced or whatever else quirky people do.

    I actually remember going to a graduation party that had a lot of the Northface blob, and it was like culture shock because I'd managed to avoid them for so long (at least socially, not necessarily in class).

    The people you seek are there in droves. Don't give up.
  • grantortuegrantortue Registered User Posts: 1,034 Senior Member
    i know quite a bit actually...

    but your right, i don't go there. however, the sad thing is, at least I genuinely like cornell.
    (I've actually been there before, several times, thank you)

    someone has to be pretty dumb to transfer to a school they're gonna hate as much as you do.

    so again, let me boost your ego, you're right, i don't go to cornell as of now or any other day in this semester.

    but at least i can make the right choice and not be a bitter person on an online forum with the majority of the people listening being nervous high schoolers and other bitter collegemen and women.

    if you want to rant about something, dr. phil's door is always open.

    you're pathetic
  • ThePhilosopherThePhilosopher Registered User Posts: 1,661 Senior Member
    Nearly everyone on this forum is more than willing to help, so you just need to calm down, otherwise no one is going to help you. Grantorture, there is nothing wrong with this question.

    Second of all, there is already a thread about this: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/cornell-university/630916-what-if-you-don-t-go-greek.html?highlight=don%27t+greek . I genuinely hope that your problem gets solved.
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,725 Senior Member
    Finding one's niche must be an issue for transfer students generally, and a large school with dispered housing doesn't make the situation any easier.

    People everywhere tend to stay to their established comfort zone of friends and acquaintances. It's only when they don't have such a network established that they are highly motivated and receptive to expanding that network.

    Freshman year is unique, in that an entire class comes in , virtually all without such network. So they all are highy motivated to connect in that way. But then after that, they aren't.

    So when a transfer comes in, he is trying to build connections but only the few, dispersed other transfers are similarly motivated.

    It's a tough situation, I sympathize. You have to do the same thing that people do when they go out in the world, into the cold anonymous cities. You have to put yourself in situations where people need to interact, in a meaningful way.Maybe those clubs haven't worked out yet, but keep trying. Do stuff. Seek housing situations where you are not alone; e.g. get a room in a large house a group of students are renting, or in a suite. Do the ski club. Get a job on campus, or elsewhere, which involves interaction. Take courses that have group projects. These types of things are what you've got to try if you want to change things.

    Your situation is not unique. Many people who come there outside of the normal track have to figure out their path, and it isn't always easy.

    But this is sort of an early introduction to what it's like, socially, in the outside world.

    I doubt that Cornell has actually changed so much that now everyone there is of one type. There are undoubtedly all sorts of people there, and they are predominantly not in fraternities. The issue is finding, and connecting with,them. And that, can be hard, at many schools, particularly as a transfer student. Just as it can be hard after college.
  • CayugaRed2005CayugaRed2005 Registered User Posts: 4,041 Senior Member
    Grantortue -- I have no idea what you are smoking. Stop flaming the OP. You are the one who has no idea what you are talking about. There are plenty of students and alums on this board who are more than willing to take some time to help out the OP.

    MMXI -- Do you like my screen name much? I would be a little bit taken back if I didn't steal this name from my first year out of college roommate who set it up as the password to our apartment's wifi system.

    Unfortunately, if you don't immediately join a sports club, musical ensemble, or an intense academic club (e.g. Forensics, RoboCup) as a transfer, these things can take time. As monydad, says, it can be tough at first as a transfer. My best advice would be to 1) get really involved in the clubs that you are really interested in, 2) work hard to make certain you are in a residential environment you would like to be in next year when you return, 3) put in some effort to try to go to as many off-campus, non-Greek parties as you can.

    But where are the independents? Try the Big Red Barn, Green Dragon, Temple of Zeus, Risley, Dairy Bar, Eco House, JAM, West Campus Houses, and Collegetown below Eddy (e.g. Chapter House). Not to mention all of the co-ops. It sounds like you should be checking out the parties at Watermargin or Telluride or the like.

    In my experience, the majority of transfers end up having a more enjoyable overall experience than their non-transfer counterparts because only transfers can really appreciate all that Cornell has to offer. But even then, it make take more than a semester for things to get up to speed.

    I do agree that Cornell's social deficiencies stem from Greek life. not to mention the drinking age of 21. But it's really only a concern for underclassmen.

    As for the girl situation, I don't know what to tell you. Even the girls I knew in the sorority system couldn't stand dating guys in fraternities. Try volunteering with Habitat for Humanity or the like. And it's not like meeting members of the opposite sex is any easier in the real world. In fact, it's a lot harder.
  • grantortuegrantortue Registered User Posts: 1,034 Senior Member
    hmmm i apologize to the OP. somebody messaged me that the Op was another person that causes several issues on this board. I addressed him that way thinking he was _. Definitely am sorry! wonder why X person told me it was someone else...
  • dtopdtop Registered User Posts: 195 Junior Member
    ...well this makes me nervous for next year.
  • stm167stm167 Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
    dtop: I wouldn't be nervous at all if I were you, especially not if you are going in as a freshman (im not sure if you are a freshman or transfer). The OPs issue is something that can happen very easily to many people who just haven't been able to find their element right away. But, as someone who transferred in this semester, I know that I couldn't be happier with my current situation, both socially and otherwise.. and thats not even considering the fact that I have been too lazy/busy/sick to get involved with the groups that I want to.

    MMXI: Give it time, I found myself having the same problem in the last school I was in for a little while and that school happened to be a very social one. Eventually you start to meet some people that you like and things usually work out for the better. Just make sure to not give up so quickly and miss out on some of the opportunities that you have yet to even come across.. keep trying different ways to meet people that you might like.
  • awkaplanawkaplan Registered User Posts: 61 Junior Member
    there is a transfer frat theta chi i think. They are still doing rush. Look at that
  • ResurgamBellResurgamBell . Posts: 2,269 Senior Member
    i too share your sentiments...

    you just have to find your own niche...try not to focus on what others seem to be doing, do what you need to do to be happy...
  • AnbuItachiAnbuItachi Registered User Posts: 1,348 Senior Member
    you need better girls? if you want to meet people, just join some clubs or program. I'm living in the language house on west right now and its pretty tight compared to other dorms. It's a good way to meet people
  • SteamedBurritoSteamedBurrito Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    the thing about the ecclectic, smart worldly kids is the view that i have of cornell too. i'm going there next year as a freshamn and now i'm a little scared i won't find that niche as easily as i had hoped. guess i'll have to make early friends with the art school kids, eh?
  • playhackerplayhacker Registered User Posts: 411 Member
    If you like, I can be your friend next year so you won't be lonely < Serious Manner
    >> Less Seriously, There has to be a sport you can join. You meet interesting people there.
    If you like, you could create your own group of people who are transfers and feel the same way like you. I'm pretty sure that someone else is in your situation too.
This discussion has been closed.