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STELLA | Nobody’s Likin’ This American Boy

Despite our best efforts to blend in with the locals, Americans often stand out even before we even display our unattractive accents. Countries around the globe hold stereotypes about tourists from the States: We’re loud, obnoxious, oblivious of our surroundings and worst of all, ignorant, especially towards other cultures. If you’ve traveled outside the U.S. and interacted with locals, you’ve probably felt some judgement or critical stares. To be fair, a lot of the time Americans stay true to a lot of these stereotypes. One lovely tradition at Cornell, as with countless other colleges, is a Spring Break beach getaway.

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STELLA | The Similarities Between Freshman Year and Going Abroad

I’m getting too old for small talk. Introductions, “where are you froms” and “what are you studyings” seem to blur together quicker than an AEM major can shift a conversation to the recent fluctuation of their Netflix stock. After a lot of elbow grease and a little luck, you establish your college friends at Cornell to the point where you forget what your days were like before you met them. Yet, right when they become such an inherent luxury in your life, you decide to leave them. You feel as though cultural assimilation and self-growth are great alternatives to comfortable friendships and shooting the shit over a pitcher of CTB sangria.

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STELLA | We Did Not Find Love in a Hopeless Place, but We Remain Romantics

All of us romance lovers have been there: a seemingly unimportant moment — maybe they’ve got food on their chin, maybe they roll their eyes at us — when we look over at our significant other and unpromptedly think, “God, I fucking love you.” Yesterday we were on top of the world, wiping mustard from their face. Today we’re cradling ourselves in bed while listening to James Blunt’s “Goodbye My Lover.” It’s at points like these when we envy our casual friends who prefer one night stands and labelless partnerships. Many romance lovers find ourselves falling head over heels time and time again. Once for the person in the grade above us in high school, once for the friend we’d always insisted was just a friend and once for the pair of unfamiliar eyes across the beer pong table. We love the idea of romance and gleefully look past early red flags (she still talks about her ex, he only talks about himself) to tell our friends we’ve found someone.

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STELLA | Halloweens Pass, I’m Still Peter Parker

Bzzt. The door swings open to the grinning face of your elderly neighbor and you study the wrinkles around her eyes. “Trick or Treat,” you repeat, and she gladly picks up a dish of candy. You’re dressed as a superhero, or ninja turtle, or princess or fairy tale creature, and she starts gabbing about the constellations in the sky and her astrological sign. You have to sit and listen, but all you want is for her to place the Skittles in your pillow case or plastic pumpkin so that you and your parents can run off to the next house.

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STELLA | The Pokémon Go Revival Tour

In July 2016, I attended my first sleep-away camp (never did one again), my first girlfriend broke up with me and perhaps the biggest worldwide phenomenon ever released reached our phones. Pokémon GO was a cultural revolution and the closest we’ve come to world peace. Like many others who collected the cards or played the games as kids, I was thrilled to get back to my childhood, eager to hunt for Pokémon and reminisce my innocence before prelims and credit card bills. The game garnered so much attention that even those who couldn’t tell a Nidoking from a Kangaskhan (amateurs) strolled the streets of their hometowns, flinging Pokéballs across their little black screens. Yet, the game’s popularity vanished just as quickly as it arrived.

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STELLA | Your First Illness in Ithaca Will be the Worst of Your Life

September: Cornell’s campus is warm and breezy with remnants of summer left over, and our local fauna scurry across the quads to pick up fallen crumbs of Zeus’ mac’n’cheese. The returning students can breathe in, and almost absorb, the giddiness around campus that radiates from our puppy-eyed freshmen. They’re still blazing with the recent-grad, on-to-the-next-stage-of-my-life buzz that comes from spending the first couple of weeks on a college campus. Class of 2023, it’s true, college is a blast. You’ve got some wonderful times ahead of you, but if you think Ithaca will always be this fairytale-esque, you’re shit out of luck.

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STELLA | No One Wants to Hear About Your Summer in Ithaca

Summer vacation has been a sacred entity of time worshipped by students since Kindergarten. Homework, early mornings and cold lunches were replaced with swimming, video games and day-long play-dates. Summer was always a time to relax with zero responsibility. In college (and sometimes high school), this dreamy utopia drifts away, instead replaced with nepotistic internships and counting down the days until the weekend. Of course, you still get to spend time with your high school friends, if you’re lucky enough to be home for the summer.