I’ve stopped in my tracks now, and I’m looking back at the Arts Quad. It’s a typical Monday afternoon during dry December, and the streams of people flooding into the center of the school has gotten me doing mathematical gymnastics in my head. “How many people did you say were at Cornell?”
He pauses for a second. “21,000, I think, if you count grads and professors.”
I cock back my head in surprise: no seriously? But he was right.
About a year ago, a story ran by the Daily Mirror caught my interest. It talked about a “Dark Web”, a sort of black market on the internet that was relatively difficult to access but provided a venue for illegal activity to thrive. This article illustrated in particular how two British computer sleuths uncovered a Dark Web website that scammed people into paying money for hitmen to assassinate the person of their choice. It sounds ridiculous – like the plot of a movie Liam Neeson would be interested in – but it was true. And perhaps more stunning, it worked: By the time they were caught, the two men had raised over 50,000 pounds in a year, without actually carrying out the work.
Roombas are adorable. They look like rounded pieces of To-Ak chocolate, and cost about the same. My parents managed to pick one up before the holidays, and it whirs around during the day, dusting off the micro-pests that clutter the household. My dad seems genuinely amazed. “Look at this,” he says giddily.
Looking around, pop culture has been shaken. I personally blame Donald Trump. He’s made the people who make progressive taxation necessary choke a bit on their fruit infused water every time they see his name. If you’re technologically sound, you might’ve noticed the trend amongst the line of A-list celebrities that recently threatened to leave the country if he managed to win the presidency. Bryan Cranston became a man of God.
The music executive standing in front of us seemed either irritated or irrationally passionate. It was hard to tell. He hardly seemed executive. He stood a good two feet above the podium, shouting, criticizing and barraging the streaming industry, calling out no talent artists and what not. It was the vaudeville of Warren Hall.
There was a recent article that ran under The Sun’s news section, titled “Cornell Student Critique Culture of Careerism.” It was published in news, but given the collective shrieking of students and parents alike, it might as well have been an opinion column with a taste for blown fuses. In it, Erial, a classics student talks about the financial high wire act she’s embraced the moment she switched from studying chemistry and anatomy to Latin. She cites her apathy towards medicine, and the fact that she can’t even stand blood, which is a bit like a computer science major saying they don’t like computers. “That something I’ve accepted for who I am: I am not meant to be a doctor, but it’s okay,” she says, with a sniff of defiance. To be honest, I found it refreshing.
There comes a time when you’re forced to keep your cool, and try not to lose it. It’s called a breaking point; my pastor preaches it as a ‘defining moment.’ In that instance, people find out who you really are. For college students, this moment seems to come every other day. There are assignments to be done, prelims to cram for, labs to attend and interviews to be bombed — all stacked on each other like an ambitious game of Jenga. It’s stressful, I tell you.
I remember when I wanted to be an athlete. Before Brad Pitt took it to Hollywood glitz, I read Moneyball cover to cover and dreamed of someday being centerfielder for the Athletics. I’m not sure what was going on in my head: my hand-eye coordination was atrocious, and my flaccid swing made me an easy out. I was fast, sure, but it’s hard to run to first base when you always strikeout. Needless to say, my baseball dreams were not to last.
Last night, President Skorton gave his hypothetical last lecture in the Last Lecture series organized by the Cornell Mortar Board Honor Society. His speech followed a long line of professors asked to give a lecture as if it were their last.
Skorton chose to impart some “last-minute” wisdom in the form of three main messages: the importance of humanity and humanitarianism, the tiny differences that separate the powerful from the powerless and the nonlinear, unpredictabile nature of life. He used his life experiences, from his time as an undergraduate to his career as a cardiologist to his current administrative post, in order to demonstrate the three lessons.
Following up on last February’s vote to release course evaluations to students, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty senate convened again to discuss a proposal draft meant to address the policy change.
One key point in the draft said that faculty members would have to authorize the release of their own evaluations before the start of each semester. Additionally, students’ comments would not be included based on advice from the Cornell Legal Office, that warned of subsequent exposure to libel claims.