March 13, 2014

BIG RED AMBITION | #108, #131 and #141

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By SAMANTHA WEISMAN

Last weekend, a group of friends and I set out to complete several items from the 161 List, because, why not? In a few hours, we completed #108: Eat brunch on North Campus, #131: Walk holding hands around Beebe Lake and #141: Ring the giant bell in the Plantations.

We started out our Sunday morning with RPCC brunch. Since we were a big group of juniors, I felt very out of place walking into the dining hall. I actually ended up walking in with my little little (hi, Elyse!), and it felt strange that she was surprised to see me there, since I used to go every single Sunday. It made me think a lot about growing up — we become strangers in places we once called “home.” It happens all the time, with our various schools, dorms and childhood bedrooms — but this doesn’t mean they are any less significant or important to think about. So although I had completed #108 several times as a freshman, I checked it off once again.

Our next stop was Beebe Lake, to walk around holding hands and maybe even reflect. To be honest, my only reflection was that it was cold and the lake wasn’t as pretty as it is in the fall or summer. The most notable part of the walk around the lake was that I took a selfie of all of us. Everyone else was holding hands, and I was holding my phone — kind of representative of our relationship with technology. I’m sure walking around Beebe Lake holding hands was very different 50 years ago than it is today; most people were probably not holding their iPhones in their other hands. Although I made a joke about it on the photo my friend posted on Facebook (“I’m holding hands with my iPhone. #her” — it got a lot of likes), many would say that our experience together would have been better if we weren’t simultaneously connected to our virtual worlds. As usual, I disagree: Having my phone with me did not take me “out of the moment;” rather, it helped me capture it so that I can write about it for you today. Number 131: Check.

Finally, we drove to the plantations to ring the giant bell. Although there is a place you can drive to that will bring you close to the bell, we mistakenly drove to the complete opposite side of the plantations. After about 15 minutes of uphill walking — and slipping, in my case — we made it to the base of the hill the bell is on. We had two choices: Walk another five minutes around a windy path or climb the steep hill. I obviously started running up the steep hill before I realized how icy it was, and although my non-waterproof boots were completely soaked through to my feet, I made it! It was fun crawling up to the top and finally being able to ring the giant bell — it really is quite large and loud. The view of the plantations and Cornell’s campus from up there is spectacular. Like most “peaks” do, it really put things into perspective, and was a nice, appreciated break from reality. I’m sure it would be even more beautiful in the warmer months (which do exist, if you’ve forgotten). Number 141: Check!

That’s all from me for now. In light of President Skorton’s announcement, you know I will try even harder to complete #50: Have lunch with President Skorton in Trillium; ask if he’s done with that burger. Stay tuned!

Please let me know if you prefer reading about many items from the list at once, or if you would prefer I focus specifically on one! Also, please let me know which things you want me to check off my list next! I would love to hear your stories about your personal Big Red Ambition, so feel free to leave comments! Peace, love and 161.

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