LORENZEN | The Biden Era Calls for Us to Act in Good Faith, Not Blind Faith

In the aftermath of President-Elect Biden fulfilling his oft cited campaign promise to beat Trump “like a drum” in the 2020 election, there has been an outpouring of rhetoric from the political middle for unity — a term which has grown increasingly difficult to be uttered unsarcastically in recent years of American political life. Biden himself has thus far stayed true to his desire to “lower the temperature” amidst appointments of qualified, long time civil servants to cabinet positions (doesn’t that just give you goosebumps?) and his recent Thanksgiving address in which he called for Americans “to put away the harsh rhetoric” and “give each other a chance.” 

These calls to action are responsible, prudent action in this brutally polarized time. To call it responsible and prudent sounds like rather bland praise, but in juxtaposition to our current president’s brand of reckless authoritarianism, it’s actually the most deeply adoring praise I can write. Yet as the glow gradually fades from the realization we have finally restored a person who actually takes the custodianship of our democracy seriously, we are left with a profoundly difficult question posed to each of us as individuals: How do we “give each other a chance”? 

Centrists in both parties have made their strategy clear through a steady deluge of op-eds calling for Biden to act during these crisis stricken times with restraint and bipartisanship — a strategy which may sound familiar to anyone who has ever attempted to put out a raging fire with an empty fire extinguisher. Progressives receive this refrain with a groan, describing the notion that a potential McConnell led Senate will be even mildly cooperative as laughable and casting an eye back to what they deem as the failures of the Obama administration in its various legislative compromises: failures which eventually led to the efficacy of Trump’s nativist, populist message in 2016.

BETTEZ | How to Work Smarter, Not Harder … From an Engineering Senior

My motivation is absolutely shot. I have absolutely no idea who that sophomore was who took four lab classes simultaneously one semester, but she absolutely wasn’t me. I suppose it’s a combination of COVID-19 making my classes all online as well as my senioritis, but I’m hardly the student I used to be. Instead of reviewing the week’s material in the A.D. White Library on a free Friday afternoon like I did as a freshman (haven’t done that since then), I curl up in my bed after every lecture I attend, exhausted. But thankfully, my grades haven’t slipped too much; I like to think that for every ounce of motivation I’ve lost, I’ve gained a little more savvy in how to work with efficiency.

ST. HILAIRE | Entering a Unique Holiday Season

As we did with graduations, weddings and past holidays, we simply have to adapt, but adaptation in no way requires us to resign from what makes this time of year so special.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: Goodbye For Now

Today is the final day of print publication in 2020 for The Cornell Daily Sun. A departure from our normal schedule, we will publish regularly after Thanksgiving break online only. For the rest of the semester, the sturdy doors at 139 W State Street won’t see the normal influx of editors rushing in and out to make a paper, as our staff returns to their homes and bunkers down until the spring. 

We adore the comfort and cadence of our print paper, and — not unlike the sunshine in Ithaca — the print edition of The Cornell Daily Sun will return in February. 

In the meantime, we’ll continue our steady reporting at cornellsun.com; if you have comments, compliments, concerns or qualms, do reach out to editor@cornellsun.com — we’d love to hear from you. 

—M.Z.

DERY | Upperclassmen should actively introduce first-years to normal campus life post-COVID

I used to envision a daily routine where I wake up early enough for a relaxed breakfast, and make the most of my spare time in between walking from class to class. When I first started college last fall, these goals regressed into oblivion in a matter of a few weeks and my standards fell to limiting myself from pressing snooze more than twice. Now, in a semester where going to class requires the minimum of a few presses of the mouse, my optimism heading into the semester — including a hope for a routine as close to “normal” as possible — has fared even worse. 

For many of us, online classes have only enabled the tendency to only do just enough to get to class on time — and it has greatly lowered that threshold. What used to be a morning routine and walk to class is now a roll out of bed. This heightened convenience has let even those of us on the strictest regimens slip up.

CHANG | COVID Lessons Yet Unlearned

“This semester is just so weird.” 

“I don’t know what it is, but this semester is harder than all the other ones I’ve had … and I’m a senior.”

“I’m studying remotely, but this is still hell.”

This is just a small sampling of where so many Cornellians are at this semester, as classes end (for the first time) and we begin a schedule of semifinal exams and project deadlines before returning to two more weeks of being beat up all over again. Weary, seasonally depressed, hurting and alone in so many ways, what are the lessons we can take from this semester in preparation for the next? When I first registered for classes this semester, I thought that coursework might be a bit easier. The end of last semester demonstrated that professors realized that online exams were nearly impossible, and it was much better to use open-note formats, which I perceived to be less challenging. This pattern was repeated this year: Fewer classes have exams, and instead, course staff are relying on projects, assignments, problem sets and quizzes to assess students.

YAO | Online Learning Isn’t All Bad, Keep the Good After the Pandemic

I am loath to admit that Zoom University has any good qualities. Breakout room discussions in which one person asks a question followed by ten minutes of awkward silence. I’m pretty sure we’ve all had at least one big internet scare the hour before a crucial prelim or project due date. I have fallen asleep at least eight times this semester during lecture. Okay, fine, maybe that last one is my own fault, but I’m still going to blame it on Zoom. 

But, I have to give credit where credit is due, and some parts of the online environment are –– dare I make such a bold claim –– not the absolute worst thing in the world.

DELGADO | The Story of an International Ph.D. Candidate

Thousands of students from all corners of the world search for post-graduate study programs in the United States every year. Over 4500-plus universities across the US house approximately 988,000 international students seeking doctorate-level degrees. Navigating the huge transitions to American Ph.d. programs can be extremely daunting for international students, especially for those who may have never stepped foot in the planet’s melting pot. But not many of these stories are known to the Cornell community. Do these students feel as integrated within our academic ecosystem as others?