February 16, 2011

Big Red Ambition: #69. 90, 103, 109, 110

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My psychologically sound strategy for dealing with my impending graduation has thus far been: denial. It seems this has been a largely successful strategy … I’m still mentally stable, I’ve had no emotional breakdowns and I haven’t intentionally failed any classes to prevent my graduation (yet). But the fact is I really can’t help those sporadic moments of nostalgia. When I set out to complete every 161 task, I figured there would be tasks I wouldn’t complete and some regretful opportunities missed. As the final countdown is upon us seniors, I am taking this column to acknowledge those 161 tasks that I will never cross off and provide superior replacement suggestions.

#69 Take PAPL 2010: Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds

Of all great courses at Cornell, I’m not sure what merits this course getting a shout out on the list. Unfortunately, I’ll never find out. Instead, I propose the replacement: take one course in every one of the seven undergrad colleges at Cornell. Students often rag on the other colleges for one reason or another (too easy, too hard, too many guys, too many girls…) but every school has something awesome to offer. End those irritating fights over which school is superior and find out for yourself.

#90 Males: Get thrown out of Balch Hall

This is lame and precludes 50 percent of the Cornell population from completing all the 161 tasks. I know it’s specifically addressed to the males, but if there isn’t going to be a female alternative, #90 needs a gender-equality upgrade. My suggestion: gain access to the elusive Rand Hall. You know, that mystery building where all those architecture students hole themselves. You need ID card access to get inside and no, students won’t generously let you inside without swiping … even if you try and squeeze inside right after them. Not that I’ve tried that before.

#103 Get negged at a bar because the bouncer is actually friends with the person whose I.D. you are using

I would never condone or engage in the illegal practice of using fake identification, Cornell Daily Sun! … Oh, wait, that’s a lie. Look, when you turn twenty-one in December of your senior year … you do what you gotta do in order to maintain any semblance of a social life. My friend J graciously offered me an extra copy of her license so I could hang out with my friends. How could I turn her down?!? I would have offended her kind soul. One harmless Thursday evening last year I approached an anonymous Collegetown bar. I had been to the bar before, and wasn’t too concerned about re-entry. I handed over “my” license and the bouncer looked at me for a good several seconds, but ultimately waved me inside. Assuming I was safe, my friends and I grabbed a table. Only minutes after taking a seat, the bouncer was inside and approaching our table. Uh oh. He tapped me on the shoulder, “excuse me?” I turned around ready to bolt out of the bar and avoid real problems. “I just want to let you know, I know J … she’s cool! I called her and asked if I should let you stay … you know, to make sure she wanted you to have her ID… and she said yes. So I just want to let you know, I know.” And then he laughed and walked away. Hey, all’s well that ends well.

#109 Do your Freshman Reading Project before you graduate

I know this technically is not out of the question… but it ain’t happening. I suggest: Read a book just for fun, while you’re in the midst of classes. It’s easy to get swamped by problem sets, prelims and required reading. But reading a book just for fun can serve as a reminder that books are supposed to be enjoyable … and half of us aren’t doing our required reading anyway.

#110 Fail your swim test, just for kicks

Though theoretically comical, #110 is in practice stupid and unrealistic. First of all, when most unassuming freshmen take their swim tests, they haven’t heard of the 161 list yet. Second of all, if you do know how to swim, it’s likely you don’t want to be “that kid” who pretends to drown in the pool only to be found alive and breathing. If there were a chick who put on a dramatic performance for the sake of some “161 list” when I took my swim test, I’d probably place her in my “don’t befriend” category and never reassess her placement. Instead I suggest: swim at Helen Newman one more time after your swim test, preferably in the middle of winter. And maybe I’d add … walk home in your bathing suit (although, this suggestion is still under review).

Alas, the list stands as is for now and I still have plenty of 161 comical encounters to experience. Seniors: it’s never too late to start tackling the list. Freshman: start now. And to any pre-frosh out there: if you do fail your swim test just for kicks, I’d like to hear about it.

Original Author: Eve Shabto