December 4, 2003

C.U. Students Plan For Winter Recess

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What accessories do your December break plans require? A plane ticket; a bikini; a hammer, perhaps? The wide array of interests and preferences present on the Cornell campus during the school year is reflected in the different activities students and professors choose to undertake during their vacation time.

Academic pursuits are put on hiatus, creating time for recreational projects. One architecture student is actually building a studio in her backyard. “I’ve already built three walls; over vacation, I’m putting on the roof and moving in a bed,” proudly reported Christina Sabol ’07.

Like Sabol, many people are finding their vacation plans to be tangential to their in-school concentrations. Prof. Greene, ecology and evolutionary biology, will be spending part of his December break in Arizona. There he will attend a convention of the MALDAI Border Lands Group, a consortium of ranchers trying to make ranching compatible with conservation and science.

Recreational projects that students plan to undertake include creative enterprises that they have simply not had time for during the semester. “Ninjas. Judd Nelson. Pudding. Failing out of college. These are the subjects of the film whose script I will be writing over December break. It’s going to be brilliant!” exclaimed Christopher Clark ’06.

“I’ll probably write some music — I play the piano and sing; I usually dabble in composition over long breaks,” said Ely Felker ’06.

For some, December break means the chance to get away from the cold. Though, until recently, this fall had been relatively mild by Ithaca standards — with little snow and temperatures reaching well into the 30s — many long for a warmer climate: “I miss Texas. I miss 70 degree weather; I miss flip-flops; I miss capri pants, and I miss tank tops,” explained Emily Calhoun ’07.

International students express similar climate complaints, but their December break excitement stems from the fact that this is their first chance to go home in months: “I haven’t been back to Venezuela since the school year started. I am excited to go home — to see my family and friends, and for the weather — but of those three, weather probably comes first,” admitted Adriana Vincentini ’06.

By virtue of warmth, other countries afford opportunities that the United States cannot. For example, ice patches in the water make it hard to row in local waters, but “in Mexico, it’s warm enough. I live in Mexico City and over vacation, I plan to row with my father. We have an Olympic Course near my house that was left over from the 1968 Olympics,” said Adrian Nino de Rivera ’07.

Relaxing, ocean-related pastimes are another reason to travel abroad. “In touring the British Virgin Islands, I hope to do some snorkeling. Of course, I’m also really looking forward to the sun; I haven’t seen anyone with a complexion darker than pasty in months,” said Stephen Graham ’07.

Beyond the warmth, there seems to be a keen interest in exploring other countries for the cultural experiences they have to offer. Students have planned trips with both family and friends to places with climates up and down the thermometer: Paris, Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand, the British Virgin Islands, China, the Caribbean and Spain.

And for some, the break is not much of a break at all. “I have to come back on January 4th!” said Catherine McBain ’07. McBain, a freshman on the women’s varsity track team, has to come back for practice, as do many other athletes. She and her teammates will be staying in the Statler Hotel, with the cost of their food and rooms accommodated.

Courses will be offered by the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, but students enrolled in these courses do not live on campus. The courses, 11 in total, will range from “Introductory Microeconomics” to “Islam — In Theory and Practice.” Toward the end of vacation (Jan. 19), hundreds of freshman will return to the campus for fraternity and sorority rush.

The spectrum of activities in which students can participate over vacation is nearly endless. So grab a pair of sunglasses, some suntan lotion, a pen, or maybe even an oar, and have a great vacation!

Archived article by Erica Fink