Whether this is an aggressive reminder for upperclassmen, or painfully true advice for freshmen, learning how to really cheat at Cornell is essential. You don’t need to type all of the answers in your fancy calculator the night before the test to cheat at Cornell, and you definitely don’t need to become friends with a little blue or orange pill. You don’t need to write formulas on your fingernail or notes on the inside of your water bottle. To really get ahead of your friends here, it is all about knowing the right resources, knowing the right people and knowing the right study spots.
First thing is first, know no one cares if you were top of your class, valedictorian, student body president or captain of Mathematics Olympiad. Chances are, so were at least five people in your hall. Be humble and don’t bite off more than you can chew. College is a much different realm than high school. It is not always going to be a breeze.
If you really want to excel at Cornell, you need to kiss ass. Yea it may feel like a violation of your hardened pride, and your professor may level up in conceitedness, but it is not a bad thing. It is important to build a relationship with your professors, but it also important to not follow all of their ideas and to challenge their opinions. Visit their office hours with questions or comments about class content or future reading, and try to participate as much as you can in class.
Second, go to class! Cocaine is listed as the most addictive drug in the world but nothing is more addictive than skipping class. During my freshman year, when I got the taste of freedom and skipped my first 8 a.m. class at Corson-Mudd Hall, I entered a downward spiral of absences (that I luckily recovered from when I realized the implications). Even though laziness is the father of invention, don’t get too comfortable with it.
Don’t procrastinate, JUST DO IT. DON’T LET YOUR DREAMS BE DREAMS.
Sleep. This becomes so much of a luxury that when you close your eyes it actually feels like your cheating.
The weather is not your friend in Ithaca. The winters are grueling and depressing and the summer heat is spiteful. It doesn’t matter if it was beautiful and sunny or cold and rainy when you woke up. You probably will still dress wrong in the transitional seasons. Make sure to always check the weather, and carry a sweater in your bag. Dress in layers, and maybe even join the secret Canada Goose cult during the winter.
Manage your BRBs and swipes. Unless you have a BRB sugar daddy to buy you meals at Trill, put down that kombucha — you don’t need it. Also, please don’t spend all of your student loan money on CTB drinks and salmon on cream cheese at Bus Stop Bagels.
Don’t wait the night before to study, and don’t pull all nighters unless it is productive. I go by this mantra: If you don’t know it by 2 a.m. you don’t know it at all.
Make sure you have fun, but do your work before you turn up. You don’t want to be dancing at a party and then get hit with a wave of impending doom when you realize your reading response was due at midnight.
The most important cheat to making it through Cornell is making friends — especially in your classes. Network with people who have resources that will make you succeed. Be the one in your class who offers to make a GroupMe where you can ask each other questions or share homework answers. Asking for help is also key whether it be from your friends or professors.
Stay on top of your work and do it when you get it. Nothing is worse than having all your work pile up and playing catch up the entire semester.
Another thing students need to realize is that your GPA does not matter as much as you think it does. Shocker. But instead of reaching for that 4.0 (which is a good aspiration to have), make sure you spend a lot of effort outside of the classroom. Chances are, when you are applying for jobs in the future, they are more interested in the experience you have gained rather than in a few numbers.
To close; free stuff is the best stuff. Make a to do list. Take risks. College is a opportunity that so many people don’t get to have. Be grateful. If all else fails, apply to Harvard, I heard it’s easier to get A’s.
Aminah Taariq is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I Spy runs every other Wednesday this semester. She can be reached at email@example.com