November 18, 2012

The Freshman Is a Muse

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“College is the best time of your life. When else are your parents going to spend several thousand dollars a year just for you to go to a strange town and get drunk every night?” — David WoodOn campus, the “freshman” is an odd bird: A creature which evokes amusement and is almost a specimen to be observed and marveled at. It has only been two months and I’m already looking forward to being the enlightened upperclassman with the superpower of hindsight who can sit back in her ivory (read: Baker) tower and watch a new bunch of hapless newbies get grilled by their first tryst with “the life on the slope.” However, the inherent question here is, what is a freshman? What makes “it” so exclusive?They are those miserable people who bother to finish problem sets. They innocently wake up for 9 a.m. classes. They keep stopping in their tracks to capture photographs of trees on campus, still post on the Cornell Facebook groups, make countdowns for Homecoming (a slight exaggeration), complain about walking from North Campus to Central Campus and get tickets for jaywalking. They invariably feel a rush of brand new exuberation when weekends somehow begin on Thursday and at times on Wednesdays! “All-nighters” for essays and prelims are something akin to an unfathomable feat for them. They live the freshman dream of “unwinding” at Nasties after long, rough nights. They go about life with the rose-tinted shades of optimism which, unfortunately, do not last too long but never fail to dazzle seasoned upperclassmen.I am certain there is an element of sadistic pleasure derived when one overhears dejected freshmen commiserating about how their first Prelim was the first B of their lives. I look forward to nod like the wise when a frustrated freshman confides in me saying, “Cornell is difficult.” I shall then wisely tell them, “Drink Coffee and Carry On.” Now, I must confess that these abstruse musings have been conceived in the mental chambers of one who belongs to the very species which is the central focus of this article. With that out of the way, I must admit that I love being the person who cannot stop looking forward to Sunday RPCC brunches after holistically exhausting Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and the nights, of course. I love this feeling of “the world being my oyster.” I know it will not last too long because soon enough all the dreary technicalities of life, like GREs, grad school applications and the need to do something with our lives kick in and are, in fact, just lurking around the corner.To think, that these four years can possibly be the most creative and fulfilling years of our entire lives and that this could actually be our last chance. When I say creative or productive, I am not indicating the GPA you flash as a yardstick. I am talking about the arbit conversations that one has on the slope in almost Arctic temperatures. I am also referring to the sudden, inexplicable bouts of poetry, art or literature that come forth in the middle of the night and the rare experience of singing for hours with friends at a cappella practices. It is the fervor which grips us obsessively when an idea strikes us and then the grueling journey from conception to tangible form (for instance, this article which could be about everything and nothing at the same time began as a bizarre thought). It is only in this place and these wonder-years that one can decipher conundrums in a state of reckless inebriation.As a freshman, the weariness of being successful in the past 18 years of life gets replaced by the lightness of starting over again. Freshmen are like light-heads who get intoxicated by the idea of being a metaphysical accumulation of thoughts, passions, feelings and ideas. The fact that one’s existence can be described as a moving mass of stimulated intellect comes as a scintillating realization which hits us when we begin our four-year chrysalis at Cornell. I think it’s remarkable how we are all variables destined to fit in the prophesied pattern of the four year life-cycle which has already been prescribed for us, and yet, as we flit through the constant, that is Cornell, we leave behind marks of the days we have spent here, in the etchings on trees, the treasures beneath the Slope and in the wind beneath our wings. These marks, distortions and etchings are like whispered secrets between us and the hallways, willows, rooftops of Cornell.

Aditi Bhowmick is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at [email protected]. Abstruse Musings appears alternate Mondays this semester.

Original Author: Aditi Bhowmick