April 28, 2014

LISTOGRAPHY: 15 Things I Learned From My Freshman Year at Cornell

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By RUTH WEISSMANN

1. That amount of sleep is relative. Relative to the amount of coffee consumed as a proportion of essay due tomorrow morning, that is.

2. How to create a listserv. And moreover, how to coordinate things. It’s kind of scary when somebody is out there getting things done, sending out e-mails and creating website posts and that person is you.

4. How to appreciate the modern miracle that is a washing machine. Even if you did your own laundry at home, there’s nothing quite like having all of your clothes clean again – especially when you’ve been wearing jogging gear for a week and we both know you don’t jog.

5. How to navigate complicated websites. Looking at you, Student Center.

6. That your parents are wonderful people. Until you get home and they start asking you exactly where you’re taking the car, missy. But you forgive them when they visit and take you to brunch.

7. That, as a rule, you can ignore about half the emails you get. Pay no attention to the guilt-inducing Career Development ones or the obnoxiously fonted Denise Cassaro updates urging you to attend the free pizza party.

8. That I am skilled in the art of walking just about anywhere. After this year, I don’t even flinch at the thought of trekking three miles uphill, and that is a bona fide resume-worthy skill.

9. That my first grade teacher wasn’t lying. Well, maybe she was when she said I could be an astronaut. But when she said things like, “Watch out for traffic!” or, “Clean up your own mess [so things aren’t living in your dorm closet]” or even, “You can do anything you want when you grow up!” she wasn’t kidding. And she didn’t even see the list of clubs offered here.

10. That Ithaca is a nutty place. My professor scootered to class today, how about you?

11. That I can cook. Not to perpetuate stereotypes about women and kitchens, but I make a mean omelet. The dining hall eventually leaves you with the same aftertaste every time, and homemade is so much better – provided you don’t burn anything down.

12. That you should take advantage of Intramural Sports. Hello, inner tube water polo. It’s tricky to compete in, but you get to check off an item on the 161 Things List.

13. How to Ride the TCAT. This is a true art form. You have to learn not to stand in the doorway (the driver is not that interesting, people), and how to casually sit next to strangers (that one looks like he’s not hiding anything scary in that backpack) and how to get on the right bus (but only after ending up at the airport).

14. How to memorize the Greek alphabet. This is going to be useful for later life, right? Cocktail parties or something like that?

15. How to make the most amazing friends. Finding people who will be the guinea pigs as you learn to make cookies, make you study when you can’t look at those notes anymore and tune in to your radio show even when your voice is similar to those talking chipmunks is quite a feat. Chances are, you’re like me and have met some crazy, serious, wonderful, daunting and generally cool people in the past year. Go hug them.

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