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Life At Cornell: Traditions and General Social and Academic Life

silversuz1silversuz1 Registered User Posts: 353 Member
edited April 2012 in Cornell University
Reading through the Cornell threads, I couldn't find anything about life at Cornell. Well, maybe one or two, which sort of went away from the topic. I really would like to know about how life at Cornell is. Looking at other schools, I found many traditions and sports and clubs, but what sort of things are there for Cornell? Traditions, Social Life, Clubs, Academic Life, Funny Anecdotes about Cornell, etc...It would be great if alums posted some of their experiences! Thanks so much!
Post edited by silversuz1 on
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Replies to: Life At Cornell: Traditions and General Social and Academic Life

  • CayugaRed2005CayugaRed2005 Registered User Posts: 4,041 Senior Member
    Well. You could write a book about it. But everybody's Cornell experience is going to be very different by the fact that Cornell is a very diverse school filled with all types of people.

    Traditions:

    We like hockey a lot. And fish. Particularly flying fish. Also dragons. Particularly dragons burnt to a crisp. And varied topography that offers grassy inclines. Upon which you can drink alcohol. Gorge jumping. And chimes and towers and sunsets.

    Social Life:

    Everything. 14,000 kids on a hill. Hippies and jocks. Greek and independents. Vegan co-ops and secret societies. Video game dweebs and your Thursday evening coke rush before the art opening. Bars. And epic houseparties.

    Clubs:

    There are over 1000 clubs. Literary journals. Underwater robotics competitions. Debating teams. Organic farms. Rugby, cricket, and curling. Students who want to become dairy farmers. Students who want to become investment bankers.

    Funny Anecdotes:

    I went sledding in a canoe during my sophomore year. At the end of the sledding episode, we decided that the best place for the canoe would be twenty feet up in a tree. Said canoe stayed in tree for the next two days. Upon realizing that nobody was going to claim it, we hid it in the bushes behind our apartment.

    Fast forward to my senior year, upon returning to my beloved Ithaca after being away for nine months. An evening is spent at a local bar, and we decide it might be a good idea to figure out if our canoe is still there in case we decide to go sledding that winter. So upon realizing the canoe is where we left it, it dawns on us that we now live a mile and a half away. So we decide to walk the canoe to our new house. Three separate sets of cops stopped us and asked what we were doing transporting a canoe at three o'clock in the morning, and whether or not we stole the canoe.

    We never did get the canoe to the top of Libe Slope again.



    You can read a little bit of Cornelliana here:

    The Muse - Reflections, Memoirs, and Vignettes from Cornell University
  • silversuz1silversuz1 Registered User Posts: 353 Member
    ^ Thanks so much! That helped me to get a better picture of how Cornell life is. How on earth did you guys get a canoe up in a tree??!
  • Jay1020Jay1020 Registered User Posts: 465 Member
    Life at Cornell? Amazing. I absolutely love it. I'm a transfer student and I can't believe I thought so hard about coming here. This is coming from a student who hated on Cornell before coming here and who almost chose NYU over it, but changed my mind at the absolute last second--literally before I put the other deposit slip in the mail box.

    During my first month, I got pretty close with my suite mates and we all went gorge jumping. I went to my first hockey game today with my entire floor; the place was packed and I've never seen so much enthusiasm over a sport before. I went to my first real frat house party and it was seriously like something out of a movie. A friend of mine who I interned with at Goldman Sachs is a president of a popular frat here, so I skipped this 1 hour+ wait line and walked right in. The party was great, girls were cute, drinks everywhere, and it ended out as one of those nights I'm never going to forget. This Spring Break I'll be going to Cancun with some floormates.

    CayugaRed is entirely correct. If you want to go out and party your brains out all week long, it's so easy and there's so many parties here. If you want to play WoW every night until 3AM, go to the basement of Carl Becker House and there's always around at least 4 up to 20 kids playing LAN games everyday. There really is something for everybody.

    Is Cornell "far" from big cities and does it get cold up here? Yes and yes. I always hated winter, but there's something about it up here that makes me appreciate both so much. Because there's no major city, students stick together to hang out and build bonds. I'm definitely going to keep in touch with everyone because of the amount of time I've spent with them and everything we've went through. The snow here really isn't a problem--and that was one thing I was worried about. You'll never walk in more than 2 inches of snow because the snow management here is like magic.

    The alumni are die-hard. I met with one who was a director of an exclusive division in an investment bank that's doing well. Just because I was a Cornellian, she gave me an internship over winter break without even interviewing me, and it opened so many doors that I won't be in class for the next week and a half because of interviews. I'm not even exaggerating.

    The academics can get tough, but I devote 80% of my time to them and pulled off a solid competitive GPA. It really depends on your major, but it depends moreso on your personal effort.

    I can't imagine going anywhere else. I love this school and can't believe I only have a year left. If I ever "make it," I'm definitely coming back to recruit and plan on donating a steady stream to the parts of the school that helped me most.
  • CayugaRed2005CayugaRed2005 Registered User Posts: 4,041 Senior Member
    This is coming from a student who hated on Cornell before coming here and who almost chose NYU over it.

    Well, I'm glad you decided to become a Cornellian to prove yourself wrong.

    Also, note that the Cornell campus is just not frat boys and video game players... there are also French film enthusiasts, mountaineering clubs, vegan hippy co-ops, and indie kids, to name a few.
  • applejackapplejack Registered User Posts: 1,483 Senior Member
    One Saturday after I just arrived my group of new friends from big cities - far more the art-house independent movie folk than that frat party folk - were complaining about being in a small city with nothing to do. I threw them in the back of my pickup and we drove down the hill to Ithaca Falls. They had no idea there was a massive waterfall in the middle of town. We spent the afternoon swimming and diving and getting pounded by water. Nobody complained about Ithaca after that.

    People hate on Cornell a lot on this forum - mostly those who have never been or those who try to corral smart people into the box from which that individual came (ahem..muerte) - which is why you'll see us perhaps overzealously defend it. Not because we think it's the best school in the world or to protect the value of our investment, but because the isolated location and rugged gorge-filled natural setting in a quirky city with a truly eclectic and rigorous university (you will study a lot for almost every major) makes for a very rewarding and unique experience. You are exposed to people from vastly different backgrounds and prospective students shouldn't be denied that experience simply because some friend of a friend at Dartmouth spoke badly about it at a party.
  • silversuz1silversuz1 Registered User Posts: 353 Member
    Wow Cornell sounds really fun, but intellectual at the same time. What is gorge jumping? Do people just jump into random gorges? And I am perfectly fine with snow :). I live in a desert, where we get no snow whatsoever....anything else about Cornell? =D
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 26,266 Senior Member
    hey, CR, I see that Alsya wrote about your Canoe in her passage in Muse. :)
  • CayugaRed2005CayugaRed2005 Registered User Posts: 4,041 Senior Member
    Yeah... what's even more amusing is that neither myself nor my partners in 'crime' know her, so we left an impression on some random students!

    Admittedly, a canoe in a tree is nowhere as impressive as a pumpkin or a disco ball on top of a 170 foot clock tower.
  • CayugaRed2005CayugaRed2005 Registered User Posts: 4,041 Senior Member
    What is gorge jumping? Do people just jump into random gorges?

    YouTube - Cornell University Gorge Jumping
    And I am perfectly fine with snow

    YouTube - sledding down libe slope
  • CayugaRed2005CayugaRed2005 Registered User Posts: 4,041 Senior Member
    What is gorge jumping? Do people just jump into random gorges?

    YouTube - Cornell University Gorge Jumping
    And I am perfectly fine with snow

    YouTube - sledding down libe slope
  • silversuz1silversuz1 Registered User Posts: 353 Member
    ^ Haha wow gorge jumping looks really fun. Do a group of random Cornellians get together and say, like, "Hey, let's go gorge jumping?"

    Sledding looks fun, too. =]
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,875 Senior Member
    Being a party pooper:

    Your parents aren't sending you there to get hurt, use some common sense. You are supposed to be smart.

    When I was there people got hurt every year traying down the slope and hitting trees, ditches near the road below, etc. This would be an example of "not smart".

    They also got hurt diving into places where, actually, as it turned out, there was very little water depth, but many very hard rocks shortly beneath the surface. This would also fall under "not smart".
  • kdmomkdmom Registered User Posts: 362 Member
    I'll join the party pooping, monydad.

    Also, be very careful of the undertow in the gorges' deep places. They are enormously forceful and can change suddenly, causing you to get trapped underneath water and rock ledges.
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,875 Senior Member
    .. and while we're on a roll here:

    Be careful taking canoes out from Stewart Park onto Cayuga Lake. Cayuga Lake actually has a very strong tide, and you may find that you can't get back !!!
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,875 Senior Member
    But I think it would be kind of interesting to read how students spend their time there these days.

    When I was there, first of all I studied. A lot.

    I found it was pretty important to plan weekend stuff with people a few days in advance. And of course there were plenty of options there of stuff to do, if those plans were made. Otherwise, people tended to get booked up.

    But the predominant activity back then, on occasions when we did not adequately pre-plan, was: we hit the bars.

    With today's drinking age, how does that work for you guys? What is a typical weeekend like there, nowadays? Both the planned and unplanned variety.
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