As soon as it dawned on me that I was actually entering my final semester at Cornell, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of urgency usually reserved for post-Chipotle bathroom trips. My winter break had flown by and I had already broken my New Year’s resolution of not Q-tipping stranger’s ears on the subway. Suddenly I was back at school, unregistering from all the classes I had signed up for and having an anxiety attack over what my final courses at this esteemed institution would be. Not only will I be entering the job market in a few months, but I will also be leaving the period every middle-age person seems to tell me was the best part of his or her life. Great. This was my last chance. I thought, I simply have to take advantage of all that Cornell has to offer before the end of my senior year. You only go to college once (Van Wilder, I am not) and I was determined to graduate without any regrets.For further guidance, I turned to the “Big Red Ambition,” the list The Sun puts out of the 161 things to do before graduating Cornell. To my dismay, the only things I had done on the list seemed to be boring and unadventurous, like going to Wegmans on a Friday night or eating corn nuggets at The Nines (Honestly, they aren’t that good; the waffle fries are way better, but really, you shouldn’t be filling up on appetizers. Get the deep dish and go home satisfied and uncomfortably full). So while I was able to check off a few things, I found, to my horror, that this list was mostly a myriad of things I had not done. Hook up with a freshman. I’m a senior now; it’d be bordering on creepy. Have sex in the stacks. I can’t get an erection around books ever since my mother left my father for a particularly erotic airport novel. Meet Denice Cassaro. She has had it in for me ever since I uncovered her secret past as a Colombian drug kingpin. Kiss on the suspension bridge at midnight. At prime vampire hour?!?! Eat breakfast at 2 a.m. at the State Diner. It burned down!This was futile; I would never be able to accomplish even half of the items on the list. Thinking about it was just making me even more depressed. I would just have to accept that my Cornell experience was bound to be incomplete. I was never going to take Wines, or go skinny-dipping in the gorges, or make it to the Sweet 16 as a starting shooting guard for the Big Red. There were going to be classes I wouldn’t be able to take and experiences I will have to miss out on. But maybe that’s fine. I can’t do everything there is to be done, and stressing out about it will only ruin the few months I have left. Instead, I should be finishing my tenure at Cornell remembering all of the amazing things that I have done here and can still do. I should be focusing on how fortunate I am to have been afforded the opportunity to go to such a great school, take classes with incredible professors and befriend some of the most intelligent and inspired people I have ever met. Obviously, I have regrets (you know who you are, Samantha) and wish I had gone about certain things differently, but I have learned so much, and taken out far too many loans to be mired by petty remorse. There is no secret to a good “Cornell Experience” besides buying a good winter coat and doing your best to take advantage of the countless opportunities afforded to us. Although, you should definitely spend a summer in Ithaca. Seriously.
Dan Rosen is a senior in the College of Art, Architecture, and Planning. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Smell the Rosen appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.
Original Author: Dan Rosen