May 3, 2002

Life Up North: Freshmen on First Year

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Early results from freshmen about the North Campus Residential Initiative are in. The freshmen class is speaking out about first-year lessons, the summer book-reading project, Guns, Germs and Steel and the environment in the new North Campus.

A full academic year has almost passed for the Class of 2005, one year since 3,000 freshmen unpacked their bags and opened their Cornell careers living together as one class on North Campus.

A book project designed to build a common experience among freshmen changed the student’s orientation.

Freshmen living in the traditionally upperclassmen townhouses and the inter-class program houses confronted new and old issues about housing and diversity.

By and large, this year on North has been one of adjustment, a year in which the University began a new experiment and freshmen students began a new tradition for life on North.

On Moving In:

“Orientation was all about parties in Collegetown,” said Doug Hughes ’05. “The biggest shock was the tests, I really had to do work.”

“It took me a good four months to stop hating Cornell but after a while I made my friends and joined my groups and now I love it,” said Eugene Licht ’05. “I would never think about leaving.”

“I’m happy, doing well in my classes and I have my friends so you could say I acclimated to Cornell pretty well,” said Jamy Rodriguez ’05.

“It took a long time to learn about stuff outside of the classroom,” said Adam Davey ’05.

“I’m glad that we have all the new stuff, it would’ve sucked to live on North Campus last year,” said Emily Warren ’05.

“I felt at home right away,” said Reid Gooch ’05. “Time management has been the biggest thing but even if you don’t become more responsible you learn a lot about yourself.”

“Mews is awesome: we are so close to Commons and Helen Newman with food and a gym right at your fingertips,” said Abigail Becraft ’05.

On Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond:

“That book was total bullshit, it was so boring,” Rodriguez said, “next year is going to be much better.”

“I didn’t feel like we went deep enough into it,” Gooch said. “I had thought it was going to be more important, with more programs.”

“It was a good idea but a bad book,” Licht said. “You have to have something that ties everyone together.”

“I wouldn’t know about Guns, Germs and Steel, I didn’t read it,” said Kurt Zitzner ’05. “They shouldn’t have a summer reading requirement but Frankenstein sounds a lot better.”

“I read it closely but it was useless,” said David Williams ’05. “Some people used it as a doorstop.”

“Guns, Germs and Steel was 400 pages too long,” said Elishama Rudolph ’05. “It was uninteresting; the project needs a tune-up.”

“No one read the book this year,” said Beau Parks ’05. “That’s probably why they picked a non-intellectual book for next year.”

“A lot of people said they didn’t read it but they probably did,” said Emily Warren ’05.

“I liked the book until we got to the panel discussion where they trashed the book, the I felt like I had just wasted my time reading it,” said Jamie Duong ’05. “I can’t imagine what they’re going to do with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a book written by an 18 year old girl way back when. I hate to see great literature torn apart by today’s prejudices.”

“I think students have enough worries coming into college to be concerned about a book,” said Jason Jendrewski ’05, vice president for giveaways of the Class of 2005.

On North Campus Experience —

Isolation vs. Unity:

“I like that when I walk down the hall I can see people with the same chemistry textbooks,” Licht said. “Everyone around here is a freshman and you can talk about the same problems you are facing, it helps you adjust faster.”

“North Campus detaches us from the real college experience,” said Ten