The freshman year on lockdown, the shortened senior fall, the choppy internet connection on Zoom — they’re all side-effects of an uncontrollable variable about which we can do nothing but hope to end. Thank goodness for the one saving grace of this semester. The golden goose from that one fairytale, the walk-off homer in little league playoffs, the utter sense of relief when you finally make it to a bathroom after holding in a large Coke for the entirety of Parasite. Wednesday, October 14: our Fall Break. I don’t know what we would have done without it.
Cornell’s gift of 24 hours was one we may not have deserved, but were granted anyways. Who doesn’t love when Fourth of July falls in the middle of the week during a summer internship? We have work the day before, and get to spend all day excited for work tomorrow. Being surrounded by prelims and papers kept us on our toes. Break came at a time where many students began to feel overwhelmed by work, bored at the same Friday night on repeat and lonely from not seeing their freshman year friends. Our administration came forth and conquered, providing a day of tranquility amongst a semester of mental degradation. And on the third day, Cornellians rested. It’s amazing the sheer quantity of ventures you can explore in one Wednesday. Look at all this floor space, we can do aerobics in here, so many activities!
After spending the first half of the day recovering from Tuesday night, the world was our oyster. I was so thankful for the chance to fly home to California, spend an hour with my darling parents, and get back in time for bed. We were able to schedule the logistics of Thanksgiving while also playing a bit of fetch with the dog. Instead of a road trip to Montreal, a road trip with my roommates around the Tri-State area, never leaving the car for fear of COVID exposure, was even more thrilling than cultural immersion in Canada’s French quarter.
Apart from the “travel,” Ithaca offered us many opportunities to spend our Wednesday away in style. Those that had prelims had no need for worry, as professors eased up on difficulty — name and date counted for half the grade. With the room to ignore our studying, we filled our time with Brews and Brats, a pop-up drive in and outdoor Tai Chi at the Arboretum. Hell, I even picked up blacksmithing.
Some of the adventurous may have spent the entire break outdoors (a long time to be out in the wild, I know). How many dams are there in Ithaca? Break gave us a chance to visit them all. October 14 also allowed us to taste a wine from every vineyard in Tompkins County, (spitting the fermented grape juice into the brass buckets, of course).
For the home bodies amongst us, it was the perfect time to watch the entirety of Game of Thrones. I knew I wouldn’t like Daenerys. It was the perfect amount of time to finally get around to writing that novel; enough time for Penguin to publish it too. To go through the Syracuse Chick Fil-a drive-in for lunch … and dinner.
In previous years, Cornellians would simply drive to the City, or across the Canadian border or visit friends at other schools. This was our chance to be original. Who needs to see their long distance partner when you can spend yet another night on your couch with your messy roommates arguing about what to watch on Netflix? Ever want to avoid your favorite spot in Central Park for more than a couple months? Ever want to have shorter conversations when calling home since you have no updates to give to Annette and Walter?
If you experience a fear of the sun, lack of desire to see your loved ones, a revoked license and newfound inability to drive: Break on a Wednesday can help. Side effects may include: holding your breath until you feel alive again, crying into the pillow that you haven’t washed since the start of the semester, hallucinating new friends, liver failure due to day drinking and writing a satirical piece about a one day break. Call Cornell today!
AJ Stella is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected] Stellin’ It Like It Is runs every other Friday this semester.