Once upon a time, I was a scared little freshman wandering around Collegetown during O-Week. I was with a few of my new friends, but we didn’t have anywhere to go, so we sat down outside Collegetown Bagels. I was not lost, per se (because you should all know where CTB is by now), but I had no idea what was happening. Was that what all of freshman year was going to be like? Wandering, wondering if I would find somewhere to go?
As I was sitting there, nervous and anxious to see what the O-Week night would bring — if anything — a girl and her friend walked by. I had met her earlier that day at the Hillel BBQ on North Campus (shameless plug, welcome to Cornell!). She was a junior and remembered me, and asked what my friends and I were doing that night — even though it was pretty clear we had no idea. Her immediate response to our freshman despair was, “Want to come to a party with us?”
The party was in an apartment in her building, so first we went to her place to pregame. It was the first apartment I had seen in Collegetown, and it would certainly not be the last time I visited there — but more on that later. My friends and I all ended up having a great time, and I felt so lucky to have been invited to a party by an upperclassman.
After that night, the girl and I became very good friends. We were in a class together and spent a lot of time studying and working on projects. She helped me decide to rush in the spring of my freshman year, and I ended up joining her sorority. When it came time to choose bigs and littles (“big sisters” and “little sisters” who are matched up, usually between the new freshman and the sophomores), the girl’s little became my big. This year, I just happen to be living in that same apartment I set foot in two years ago.
That girl — who helped to make me more comfortable academically and socially, helped me meet tons of people who eventually became my best friends (including herself) and introduced me to aspects of Cornell I didn’t even know existed — is none other than Jaime Freilich, the previous writer of Big Red Ambition.
While this article serves as an ode and maybe even a shrine to Jaime, my predecessor, my big big and one of my best friends, it also serves as my first check mark on the list of 161 things every Cornellian should do. This blog, Big Red Ambition, aims to tell you about my experiences while checking items off the list. The list, while nearly impossible to complete, serves as a perfect set of guidelines for ensuring you get the best out of your time on the Hill. It brings together the most iconic and fun things to do while you’re here, so start getting those check marks!
I started my reign (if you will) with this article about “getting lost” in Collegetown because I want to encourage all of you — even those of you who have been here for years — to get lost in Collegetown. You never know what is going to change or even shape your Cornell experience. Take advantage of the opportunities O-Week presents: people are friendlier, there are more open parties and it’s so nice out! You can find your future best friends, meet someone in a student group you are practically destined to join or just have the most unforgettable (or very forgettable) night of your life. I was definitely lost in Collegetown that night during O-Week 2011, and just hanging out with one girl impacted my Cornell experience in a big way.
So if you’re a freshman, wandering around Collegetown completely lost, do not despair. Good things can come out of having no idea what you’re doing or where you’re going. And even if you don’t meet one of your best friends while sitting outside CTB, you will still be able to check off #102: Get lost in Collegetown during Orientation Week.
Original Author: Samantha Weisman