Do You Know What You Did Last Summer?

April 4, 2012 12:00 am0 comments
Jacob Kose

Summer internships can be joyous validations of your brilliance or lock you in a mailroom, with or without a coffee machine, salary and a company login that thinks your name is “intern.” They can get your foot in the door and make way for the rest of you, or stub all five of your toes. This coming summer will guarantee some of Cornell’s best and brightest jobs straight out of college, and take a big fat dump on others.
As of this morning I’ve applied for somewhere between five and 10 summer jobs — I can’t exactly remember because the makeup I’ve applied and reapplied to my résumé and cover letters is running into my eyes. Some of my friends have been applying and interviewing for finance jobs continuously for the last two and a half months — that’s the length of whatever job they’ll get. Two of my roommates are struggling to live in New York City this summer with enough money to buy a PBR or two once every seven Happy Hours. For some, there must be another option.
If you don’t need to work this summer — financially or to fill an existential void — and you have enough money to travel anywhere you haven’t been, go. But if you don’t go, here’s an idea: Stay here, in Ithaca.
With 2012 summer credits at a cool rate of $1105 per, I’m not sure the the subject of Monday’s bulk email — “Enroll now in Summer Session and save 100 dollars” — does the trick. If I told you a country zydeco band, bluesy Brazilian Carnival, and New York’s premier gypsy swing band will be performing for free in the second week of July, that might raise mild interest. Even catchy slogans for on-campus attractions like “Cornell Cinema: Playing The Artist straight through finals week with the occasional break for Princess Bride, so you know we’re legit” don’t tip the scales.
Whether you’re going to be a rising freshman, sophomore, junior or senior next Fall, there’s a decent chance you could be getting more out of college. Whether you didn’t hit it off with dormmates as a lower-classmen, chose the wrong major, regret pledging or not pledging a fraternity or sorority or just have too much work to do anything else, Cornell — college — is only four years of your life. There are numerous ways to change your Cornell life during the semester — from joining new clubs, service organizations and courses to picking up a new instrument or exercise routine — but coming back semester after semester can be stagnating.
Imagine at some point this month you realize you’re not going to get that job. Or you get it but, now that you’ve proven to yourself a company like that wants you, the thrill is gone and you can do it next summer. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out who you are at Cornell when you’re not partying during O-week and Senior Week, studying all semester and having slumber parties in libraries during study weeks?
So your friends all have somewhere to be. Remember Freshman year, when you figured out how to make friends again? Remember you’ll have life after college, when you’ll be doing more of that? It’s cool at some point in between to check in with your life and ask, “What am I looking for in people?” Or even, “What am I looking for in and out of myself?”
But what do all of us look for in places? Sure, going to someplace exotic is aesthetically pleasing and hearing a rockin’ concert is sonically invigorating, but if we’ve learned anything from home-cooked meals, places are only as good as the memories they create and unlock. Imagine sitting down to tea later in life and untangling the four years college happened to you then looking back at the summer you happened to school — corny words like “closure” and “empowerment” come to mind in a good way.  
Certainly there are memorable courses Cornell only offers over the summer, but I’m not here to sell you on an Animation Workshop, Summer Drawing or Intro to Painting, Pculpture or Digital Media. I wouldn’t guilt you into Winemaking Basics for Home Winemakers just like I wouldn’t guilt you into Nutrition for Sport & Exercise, Genius and Madness in Literature and Relativity, Cosmology and Black Holes. But if you’re around and PE-less like me, you might try a cocktail of Introduction to Swing Dance and Equitation. Swing dancing with horses is said to be dangerous, so just take both courses separately.
I’m a rising senior, and if I end up here — which I’d like to — I hope to see some of you around, figuring out all that it is you’ve come back to figure out.

Jacob Kose is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at jkose@cornellsun.com. Scrambled Eggs ap­pears alternate Wednesdays this semester.