As winter casts its dark shadow over Cornell, I can’t help but feel more suffocated and restless than usual. The overcast skies accompanied by gray faces make Ithaca seem even more hopeless and depressing than it has ever been. My bright pink backpack, bought only to contrast the colorless campus, is now dirtied and has tinges of brown. For my own sanity, I bought a bright highlighter-yellow jacket because I couldn’t take being just another gray mass in the snowy tundra. I told my friends that I was going for, “loud,” as I bought a bright neon shirt and a big flower headband at Forever 21. I also bought these fabulous purple heels, but I guess that’s a story for another time.
Maybe it’s the weather that’s getting to me, yet I can’t help but roll my eyes at just about every conversation I hear around campus or Collegetown. As if living in a colorless hell wasn’t enough, someone upstairs decided that he would keep rubbing salt on the wound by making the people seem just as bland.
The only two things that Cornellians ever seem to talk about are Greek life and academics. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for making the best of my Ivy League education, but if your entire life is defined solely by what classes you’re taking, how many credits you’re taking or how many shots it took for you to get shitfaced last night … I think there might be something wrong. Don’t you?
Every night, when I take the bus home, I hear the same conversation — almost verbatim — about what classes someone is taking, how the class-is-really-hard-but-oh-it’s-OK-because-I-need-to-get-into-med-school, or why Jimmy, like, didn’t answer my texts when I really wanted to take shots with him so I, like, took shots alone instead. Sometimes, I think I should just walk home.
One night in a restaurant, my friend and I simply stared at each other blankly, as those at the table next to us tonelessly described in great detail every class they were taking this semester. Just yesterday, I heard a girl whining that if she didn’t get straight A’s this semester, she wouldn’t know what to do with her life. Last semester, in Libe, I heard a girl sobbing (yes, actual tears) about how she got an A-minus in one of her classes. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m actually going crazy at this school.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about your grades or you shouldn’t unwind after a hard week. But when your entire existence at Cornell revolves around academics and alcohol, I become a little worried about what Cornellians are turning into (or, in this case, what Cornellians have been for a long time). What makes it even more disheartening is that whenever I bring this point up to other students, I always, always get the response, “Well, what else is there here?”
Honestly, even though it feels like we’re living in a bubble, we have to come to the understanding that there is more to our lives than grades and that dirty frat party last night. I hope to God that there is, anyway.
I really wish we would start thinking about our lives beyond the Hill. Why do we have to resign to being as boring as a textbook or as douchey as the cast of Jersey Shore? I’d rather know what makes you who you are and what makes you a unique individual. Because you’re at Cornell, I know there has to be something that sets you apart from the rest, something more than just a number on your transcript.
But hey, what do I know? Maybe it’s just the weather, and I am going crazy. Whatever it is, I think I’m going to stop taking the bus from now on.
Sandie Cheng is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. That One, Please appears alternate Fridays this semester.
Original Author: Sandie Cheng