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KANKANHALLI | The ‘I’ in ‘Team’

Recently, I’ve been grappling with my group identity. My courses this semester have placed an emphasis on collaborative group projects, and as such, I’ve been viewing myself through the lens of my teammates, as a part of a whole, rather than as a completely individual entity. In academic settings, the concept of group work is interesting in that it anchors a set of strangers, without much consistency in background or passion, to a common goal – likely a desirable grade. Usually, then, after teams are selected, the professor gradually decreases the level of imposed structure, and the madness begins. Four of my six classes have currently assigned ongoing group projects: one of my teams is designing a website, one of them is building an application, one of them is filming a video and the last is dedicated to studying the role of technology in group work.

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KANKANHALLI | The Weather Outside

Cornell under 60 degrees feels more like a battlefield than a college campus. It gets this way every year without fail, but the initial hints of winter are always jolting. As the daylight fades, so do motivation, energy and moods. For the average college student, these virtues are not especially high to begin with, so the impacts of a shift in seasons are profound. Thankfully, Cornell is generous with its winter break.

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KANKANHALLI | To Netflix: Chill

Veiled by political unrest and other persistent distractions, Netflix has been up to no good. The company recently increased its standard monthly subscription prices from $9.99 to $10.99, which I would have totally missed had it not been for some pointed research. Granted, $1 extra is a reasonable trade for surplus dopamine, so maybe this is justified with some business terminology. Still, it was a bold move, considering 600,000 forward-thinking, likely SolarMovie users closed their accounts following the 2011 Netflix price hike. What’s worse than the increased rates, though, is Netflix’s ascension atop the Internet Ethics soapbox.

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KANKANHALLI | The World, My World

Everything worth saying has already been said. Everything worth writing has already been written. We’ve heard it all before. We’ve read it all before. I just hope that everything worth doing has not already been done.

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KANKANHALLI | Brotherhood Inverted

It is sometimes tempting and often convenient to claim that all fraternities recruit and produce insincere, pompous, self-serving men — but this is as accurate as claiming that all foreigners are terrorists. So, there must be an alternate explanation – why is brotherhood, so harmless and so inviting, so often laced with destruction and loss? In employing humiliation, degradation and pain as the gatekeepers of their brotherhoods, fraternities stray from the very essence of family that they strive to mimic. Times were much simpler when laughable bouts of sibling rivalry did not result in emotional scarring, physical abuse or death. Admittedly, families fortify their bonds by sharing heartache, troubles and worries, but these adversities are natural.

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KANKANHALLI | How to Fare Well at Career Fair

Career Fair is this week, and it’s my chance to shine (and yours too!). I don’t know if I’ll shine brightly, given that 500+ eager Cornellians will join me in attendance, but try I must. Since preparation is key, I neglected my course assignments all weekend long to redo my resume — that is, to make it more closely resemble the standard template that every career-minded individual also follows. Now, I look pretty good on resume paper ($20 well spent!). It seems counterintuitive to conform in hopes of being distinct, but standardization is the nectar of the H.R. Gods.

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KANKANHALLI | Not Clickbait: My Apartment Tried to Kill Me

I’m a junior now, and as such, I am informally obligated to live off campus or die an outcast. Luckily, this is a mandate that I’m thrilled to obey — I will sacrifice communal bathrooms and an utter lack of privacy if it benefits the system. So, four months ago, I voluntarily signed a lease for a three-bedroom apartment, as one does when one is craving a real taste of adulthood — electricity bills, trash days, grocery shopping, the whole affair. We’d toured the unit, and it seemed, from an outsider’s perspective, to satisfy. With a debatable mastery over the art of timeliness and a lingering fondness for O-Week, I arrived at Cornell long before necessary.

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KANKANHALLI | Who Wore it Better: Human or Statler?

There is a double agent hiding in plain sight on our very own campus, and his name is Statler. Okay…I don’t mean for my statement to sound as pointed as it did. In fact, I think I see a little bit of myself in Statler Hall/Hotel — call him what you will. The duality of this pristine, tasteful building resonates with me especially as I near the junior year milestone of my undergraduate career. Lately, in every realm of my life, I feel a certain ambiguity.

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KANKANHALLI | The Mandate of Expression

iClicker: solution for everyone. Increase participation. Confirm understanding. Measure performance. This is what an iClicker claims to do, and I know that deep down, at its core, the iClicker is trying. It’s really trying. But Planet Earth is no place for a device with such naively optimistic, lofty goals. In this ecosystem, the cast of the educational system operates on reading lecture slides after class and cramming for exams. The mandate of expression is neither divine nor powerful — there is hardly a need for evaluating progress on a daily, numerical scale. (By the same logic, how do we feel about outlawing exams?) Assembling the mental artillery is a beautifully self-driven, forgiving, noncompetitive and definitely nonlinear process.

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KANKANHALLI | Spring Break: As Told by Cancun

As others see me, I am a sort of paradise on Earth, but introspection repeatedly leads me to long for bygone times. The modern glitz and the glamour have drowned the richness of my history and the simplicity of my ecosystem. Especially in adolescent circles, I see a greedier default: understandably, maximization of the vacation experience is the foremost objective, but the lack of passion for the chronicle of events that brought me here is offensive. I am simultaneously inflated to a symbol of luxury and superfluity and diminished to a banal character of the mass media.