February 1, 2005

I Heart Ithaca

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I spent the majority of my winter break in Ithaca. Since the start of classes, a lot of people have questioned my decision to arrive in Ithaca three weeks before classes started, but I had a wonderfully relaxing and uneventful break.

I was here in Ithaca under the auspices of working on my senior thesis. And while I like to imagine that I made some (much needed) headway on the project, in reality I spent the majority of my days snowshoeing, engaging in other snow sports or consuming copious amounts of red wine.

What’s more is that I realized something incredibly profound during my time here: Ithaca is a really nice place to be when the people who are constantly complaining about Ithaca aren’t here.

For the first couple of weeks I was only surrounded by friends and strangers who actually wanted to be in Ithaca, and that made all of the difference. The change in the pervading mentality here was remarkable. But then something happened to the overriding tone in Collegetown towards the end of last week. SUVs started clogging Dryden Road and once again, people’s cellphones rang in the most inconsiderate places; an unmistakable cloud of misery began to hang over our collective heads — before classes even started.

Now I will say this loud and clear to all of the people who are bemoaning that they aren’t in New Jersey or California right now: GO BACK HOME IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE HERE. Nobody forced you to come to Cornell or Ithaca, and you are ruining it for everybody else. For some reason, people absolutely love to complain about things at Cornell, and this column is no exception, publishing rants about everything from the clocktower to Jason’s on College Ave. I really only have one thing to rant about these days, and that is those who do the complaining.

Sure … you can go ahead and blame it on the weather, or the workload or the lack of a Saks Fifth Avenue nearby, but it was a sunny day when I wrote this column, and Ithaca just opened up its first WalMart to fill the void (OK … I kid).

Students at other colleges where the weather is more miserable or the workload is more intense don’t appear to be nearly as discontent as the collective lot of us. At Princeton for instance, every graduating senior needs to write a 100-page thesis before receiving their diploma. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison the average temperature is –30 degrees. While students at those campuses take it in stride, here at Cornell we make a sport of complaining about anything and everything instead of appreciating the fact that we are obtaining a world class education in a locale that is known for its varied topography.

So guess what, gentle reader. The problem isn’t the weather, the chimemasters, the workload, the slope or any other flimsy excuse you can come up with. The problem is you and your silly attitude about Cornell and Ithaca. Now grow up or leave. The rest of us don’t want you here.

Archived article by Matthew Nagowski