Three years after I left Ithaca, I can say that the first week of Cornell: The Sequel is looking even better than the original. Being a first year grad student is far superior to being a freshman. First off, when I was a freshman, Cornell stuck me in the Townhouses, the Alaska of freshman housing. They’re so far away from campus that Wesley Snipes could move in tomorrow and nobody would notice until Saturday. They’re not even patrolled by the same police force as the rest of campus. I was dating a girl who lived on West, and I can count on my nose the number of times she came up to visit.If the Townhouses are the Alaska of housing then my sweet ass apartment on the Commons is midtown Manhattan (or Back Bay in Boston, because New York sucks). I’ve got exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and antique radiators. It’s got that industrial charm that makes it look like a setting for a Disaronno ad — a marketing campaign so successful I have never seen a Disaronno ordered at a bar. Furthermore, in a triumph of public transportation, it actually takes me less time to get to Sibley on the bus than it would have taken to walk from my Collegetown apartment senior year. The Commons isn’t as hipster as I thought it was. Although I am rocking a lot of local produce from the Dewitt farmer’s market, I haven’t yet purchased canvas shoes and I’ve been getting on fine. I might have the tailor take my jeans in a couple inches, though.In addition to the marked improvement in my house, alcohol — the KY of any passionate orientation — now drips off the follicles of my beard with ease. The downside to this easy access is that I’ll never again feel the clandestine thrill of sneaking into a bar underage. My compliments to the Ruloff’s bouncers of ’05 — your willingness to believe that I was Andrew Martmen was scintillating, especially when you asked me what road I grew up on and I nailed it. As a result of your generosity, I’m a huge brand advocate. One of my biggest regrets from my trip to Southeast Asia is that I didn’t spend $30 in Bangkok to buy a fake South African driver’s license to use at the bars. The el dorado of alcohol for freshman, a frat party, is also firmly within my grasp. I didn’t think my association with Greek life would be a plus as a grad student until this weekend when I was hanging out with some MILR girls. I mentioned that I was in a fraternity, and their eyes got bigger. “Really?” “Uhhhh yeah,” I told them. “What, do you wanna see it or something?” “Yeah! I’ve never been to a frat party before, we didn’t have them where I went to school!”Boom goes the dynamite. Now I can be that older dude that’s still hanging out at the house … three years later … Freshman: if I’m housing Beast with you at 2 a.m. in the living room, buy me some pizza and put me on the TCAT back home.Regarding visiting fraternity houses, a word of advice: The “house tour” is an architectural wonder. No matter where it starts inside the house, it will include some reference to the illustrious and distinguished history of the society (“You know, this coffee table once belonged to Winston Churchill.”), and it will end up in a brother’s room, which will feature a wide selection of hard alcohol not available to the plebeians partying in the parlor downstairs. Savor the house tour, and always compliment the brother on how impressed you are by his bar. (“Really? Because Dave was like ‘Dude, we gotta put in a bar’, and I was like ‘Sick!’”)Also, in contrast to being a freshman, as a first-year grad student I might actually have a shot at dating a sophomore, something that will elude most of you tikes hanging out on North. The sketchiness of me dating a sophomore may be something for the sex columnists to explore in the future.I wish I could say that since I worked for a few years I could take some gorgeous sophomore girl out to John Thomas instead of Aladdin’s, but I pissed away all my money on plane tickets to Asia and rent for my Disaronno pad. I’m still buying really cheap beer. In cans. And returning them to Wegman’s for the deposit.The trip to Wegman’s is in response to drastic changes in the lending policies of the Bank of Mom and Dad since I finished undergrad. There are a few things about freshman year I’m going to miss.
Ben Koffel is a first-year grad student in the College of Architecture, Art & Planning. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come Again? appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.
Original Author: Ben K.