As the year winds down the campus is teeming with activity. The end of the year is marked by wine tours, Slope Day, formals and Senior Week, while also knocking back Red Bulls and all nighters in Uris. Whether it be long nights in the library in preparation for finals or a time for celebrating accomplishments; Cornell students at this time of year are living their lives in excess.
Living at the extremes is nothing new for a cohort of high-achieving students vying for top positions in their fields. The process of getting there is often littered with long nights and inadequate (and often dangerous) coping mechanisms. High risk drinking is an issue at universities across the country, but at top universities like Cornell, there is the added element that it seems like self care is a luxury not afforded to the best students.
Over our years at Cornell, we’ve noticed a constant competition amongst students to show off who is the most stressed out, who got the least sleep the night before or who had the most prelims. In the same vein the competition extends to drinking behaviors. How many drinks you can chug every night is equated to social acceptance. While posters in every residence hall note that most Cornell students “do not think blacking out is acceptable,” there is still a culture here that accepts drinking in extremes as a point of pride.
In this capacity, Slope Day is a perfect storm. It brings together all the stress of final exams weighted to make it or break it for your grades, as well as the allure of the biggest party of the year. The objective for many that day is making sure that you are drunk so it is as enjoyable as possible, and as for finals, we’ll figure that out later.
This Slope Day, there will be a couple of changes. The University has taken initiative to start a new breakfast program for this 2016 Slope Day in order to encourage students to eat before they begin their festivities. Volunteers will be handing out free breakfast sandwiches at various locations early in the morning, a few hours prior to the start of Slope Day, in an attempt to target students making their way to ‘pregames.’
Slope Day at Cornell has a unique culture of party-hopping as students start drinking as early as 7 or 8 a.m. and move from party to party to maximize time with all their friends. This puts them in dangerous situations because they wake up early and often forgo breakfast. Cornell hopes this new initiative will minimize the dangerous situations many student find themselves in on Slope Day and encourage a safe and fun time.
Living a balanced life is the lesson most of us end up learning the hard way. While in college, the consequences are somewhat limited. The real world, a world many of us are about to enter, is not so kind. Let Slope Day and the end of the year be a reminder that if Cornell has taught you anything it is the balance of work and play.
Yamini Bhandari is the undergraduate student-elected trustee. Prawallika Gangidi is a junior in the College of Engineering and the director of Cornell EMS. Matthew Indimine is a sophomore in the College of Human Ecology and incoming executive vice president of the Student Assembly. Yamini can be reached a firstname.lastname@example.org. Trustee Viewpoint appears on alternate Tuesdays this semester.