July 7, 2010

Surviving Freshman Year: A Practical Field Guide

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Congratulations, you shining beacon of good grades, better board scores and obnoxiously impressive extracurricular activities: You’ve made it to Cornell, the Ben Affleck of the Ivy League! Now that you’re on your way to Ithaca — also known as the Middle of Nowhere — you’ll need a guide to keep you safe from all the crazy townies, fratty upperclassmen and irritatingly punctilious R.A.s. Lucky for you, our team of crack reporters has thrown together a list of things, based on semi-, mostly- and entirely- true experiences that is guaranteed to keep you safe from embarrassment and bodily harm throughout your freshman year. So, read carefully, dearest freshman, and whatever you do this coming year, always remember … DO NOT:

… sleepily forget to wear your shower-shoes in the shower.

… eat raw fish in the dining hall.

… pretend to act cool and talk about how you drank so much in high school and then prove you’re a liar by puking all over your roommate in the dorms.

… drink the free “grey goose” at your first frat party.

… eat dessert at every meal just because it’s there.

… give in to the temptation to take short cuts during the winter in areas marked “out of bounds.” The 30 seconds saved isn’t worth a broken appendage.

… eat two bagels in one sitting at 3 a.m. at CTB.

… think course numbers are meaningless and accidentally enroll in a graduate-level course.

… think that long johns are as useful indoors as they are outdoors. It gets really warm, and uncomfortably sweaty, in Goldwin Smith.

… think beer, wine and liquor are interchangeable.

… be surprised when our oft-lauded “campus diversity” turns out to mean the representation of Jews from both Long Island and Manhattan.

… exclusively wear Cornell apparel.

… be uninvolved on campus.

… forget that Big Red Bucks are actually just Big Real American Dollars and not some sort of magical number that quickly decreases after a 1 a.m. trip to Nasties.

… get drunk and then go to the library.

… try and prove you’re a badass by rappelling off the SkyBridge of Court-Kay-Bauer.

… run from dorm to dorm pulling the fire alarm at 4 a.m., especially if there’s no fire.

… pregame alone.

… be afraid to make friends with people besides your hallmates.

… experiment by seeing how long you can go without taking a shower.

… wait until the night before you leave for summer break to go sake bombing for the first time.

… drink in your dorm room on Slope Day.

… go to RPCC after six or before eight.

… worry about joining a frat or sorority until the time comes. Even then, don’t worry about it. Really, don’t. It doesn’t matter.

… ignore advice from upperclassmen.

— 129th Editorial Board

This guide was first published in The Sun’s 2009 Freshman Issue.